Laser headlights have been a long time coming in the United States. They use a fraction of the power that an LED lamp uses, yet they boast far better range and power in a smaller, more efficient package. Seems like a no brainer, right? Sadly, laser headlights have only recently started to come to our side of the pond, as auto manufacturers have had to cut through miles of regulatory red tape to get the technology approved.
The BMW i8 was the first production car to feature laser headlights in the U.S., but now one of its biggest competitors is bringing its gear stateside. Audi USA has announced that a new version of the 2017 R8 — dubbed the V10 Plus Exclusive Edition — will be its first production car to feature laser light technology. The vehicle will debut later this month at the 2016 LA Auto Show.
According to Audi, the Exclusive Edition uses full LED headlights enhanced by a laser high beam module, which greatly improves visibility. The automaker has offered a similar system on the Euro-spec R8 since 2014, and it claims the laser module offers twice the range of standard LED high beams.
Despite how it may sound, laser headlights don’t actually emit a blinding ray of radiation onto the road ahead. Instead, diodes inside a laser module shine several beams onto a phosphor converter, which effectively transforms blue light into white light. Then, the light is projected outward with much improved definition, however the lights only work above 40 mph.
When the Exclusive Edition goes on sale, it will wear several enhancements to differentiate it from other R8s. The factory shoes have been scrapped for 20-inch, 10-spoke Y-design wheels finished with high-gloss black, and the exterior itself is offered in Quantum Gray with Titanium Black accents. Inside, racing shell seats and a full leather interior package with orange contrast stitching come standard. Performance wise, the car wears carbon ceramic brakes.
Can’t wait to feast your eyes on these trick laser lights? You’d better get your wallet ready, because just 25 examples of the Exclusive Edition will be sold for a starting price of $229,200. Stay tuned for the vehicle’s debut and much more from the LA Auto Show starting November 14.