The R8 is indeed a thoroughbred

Mabuyane Kekana

Mabuyane Kekana

The streets of Cape Town came to a standstill as the new Audi R8 was paraded to motoring journalists last week.

Three sleek marques were parked at Cape Town's Waterfront, ready to be taken on a 300km test drive.

For me it was one of those special and pleasurable moments of motoring journalism.

Being behind the wheel of the mighty Audi R8 surely made many a Cape Town millionaire drool with envy.

The Audi R8 is the closest thing to feeling on top of the world. The Audi R8 is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cars on the planet.

Onlookers found it hard to believe that the beauty that had invaded their city was in fact man- ufactured in Audiland.

People looked in amazement, while others took pictures of what I believe is the car of the decade.

The waiting list for this beauty stretches to the end of 2009 or early 2010.

This goes to show how extraordinary and special the new R8 really is. Those who have not placed an order will definitely have to wait until sometime in 2010 or beyond.

The new Audi R8 boasts a luxurious interior and the body of a real supercar. Talk about getting the best of both worlds!

Audi has apparently been working on the R8 concept since 1991.

Now I think I understand what the German manufacturer of this beautiful thoroughbred means when they say they want to be the number one premium brand in the world.

The R8 weighs a mere 1 500kg and is fitted with a 4,8litre FSI V8 engine that emits 309kW of power. The V10 version is expected to hit our roads late next year.

"This is indeed Vorsprung's finest hour," said Greg Levine, General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Audi South Africa. "The Audi R8 not only cements Audi's brand credentials, it signals a new and very exciting era.

"The Audi R8 is hand-built at a rate of 19 cars a day. This year, South Africa will get just short of 30 R8s. This number will increase to between 50 and 80 in the next year," Levin said.

Billed by many as a brave move into the unknown, Audi has now taken on the most discerning and demanding segment of the car market - that of the supercar.

According to the manufacturer, this is a segment where only the very best will do.

Not only is this an arena where technological superiority is key to success, but one where heritage and motorsport success is a given. Talk about German excellence.

The truth is simple, engineering, however, is not. The concept of truth in engineering is what gives that brilliant spark to Audi vehicles. Naturally, class, leading performance and ultimate road holding are also key ingredients.

The manual Audi R8 will be priced from R1,25million while the R-tronic will cost a cool R1,30million. Only the rich will own this baby.