• Jan 5, 2009
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Audi R8 V10

The Audi R8 claimed a number of world firsts – that is, walking away with magazine awards and journalists' hearts the world over. The Audi R8 V10 is about to claim a world first in technology: it will be the first car to offer high and low beam LED headlights as standard equipment. (Note: The 2009 Cadillac Escalade Platinum was the first vehicle in the world to offer all-LED headlamps.) You can buy the package as an option on the regular R8, so it's only fitting that the bigger and more expensive beast gets more tricks.

Audi trumpets the inclusion as an energy-saving measure – LEDs use a quarter of the energy of halogen headlights, and that number will only get better as LEDs evolve. You probably never thought you could know so much about LEDs, but there's an exhaustive press release after the jump, and for dessert, a high-res gallery of photos below.


[Source: AutoblogGreen]

PRESS RELEASE

UK Product Communications – Milton Keynes, January 2, 2009

AUDI IS "LIGHT" YEARS AHEAD WITH WORLD'S FIRST LED HEADLIGHTS

* R8 V10 is first car in the world to offer all-LED headlamps as standard
* LEDs can also reduce a vehicle's fuel consumption and C02 emissions
* "Brighter" future for Audi drivers thanks to Vorsprung durch Technik
* Remarkably efficient as well as better road safety
* Audi has pioneered LED car lighting and now leads with headlight technology

The order book opened in Britain for the V10 engined Audi R8 this month (1 January) and with it the German car manufacturer demonstrated another element of its pioneering Vorsprung durch Technik technology.

The range-topping R8 is the first car in the world to be equipped with all-LED (light emitting diode) headlamps. For the first time the high intensity diodes have been used for low beam and high beam settings, as well as for daytime running lights and indicators, intensifying the sports car's visual drama.

The LED headlamp of the Audi R8 is the first representative of a completely new generation of headlamps using only light emitting diodes which in itself reduces CO2 emissions. An interior light package including LED footwell lighting, light and rain sensors and LED engine compartment lighting also comes as standard on the 196mph "supercar".

The first all-LED headlights represent the triumph of an idea for Audi. Dr. Wolfgang Huhn, Head of the Light and Visibility Department at Audi, explains: "A lot of people initially viewed this development as a mere marketing gimmick. Yet everyone who has seen these lights in action is not only astonished by the excellent output but also thrilled with the homogenous distribution of light and the agreeable, daylight-esque colour of the light."

Audi was the first car manufacturer to recognize the potential of revolutionary LED lighting technology and then incorporate it during development of its vehicles and can now boast a technological edge putting it "light" years ahead of the competition.

This success story began at the 2003 North American International Auto Show – which begins on 11 January in Detroit this year – when Audi first presented the Pikes Peak quattro concept study. This elegant SUV, inspiration for today's Audi Q7, garnered attention with the world's first fog lights equipped with high-performance light-emitting diodes.

Integrated into the broad bumper as striking strips of light, the fog lights were a sensation not merely in a technical sense. The strip-shaped lights were also aesthetically pleasing and very popular with the public.

The 12-cylinder Audi A8 went into series production soon afterwards as the world's first vehicle with LED daytime running lights. High-performance light-emitting diodes as a light source for headlights had never previously been seen. Huhn added: "Audi blazed trails with LED technology. And even though we're years ahead of our direct competitors, this field continues to bear tremendous potential for us. Our research counts on the 'Vorsprung durch Technik' typical at Audi and no one can imagine our designs without it."

Today's xenon and LED headlights are four times more energy efficient than halogen headlights. And by 2018, LED technology should be about eight times more efficient than halogen light. In addition, LEDs excel due to their practically indefinite service life and react up to ten times more quickly than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Greater safety, lower fuel consumption

LEDs can also reduce a vehicle's fuel consumption. When daytime running lights become mandatory in the European Union in May 2011, Audi models with on-board LED technology will be ahead of the competition.

Drivers in a lot of European countries – such as Italy, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, and Sweden – already must use their lights during the day. As a result, just one vehicle's conventional low-beam headlights, taillights, and license-plate illumination consume some 200 watts – which the alternator must constantly generate.

By comparison, a mere 15 watts is required to power the new Audi A4's modern LED daytime running lights, which have the added advantage of far better visibility for other road users. All in all, that equates to a decrease of about 0.2 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres and about 4 grams fewer CO2 emissions per kilometre.

A statistical example clearly illustrates the significance of these figures: Thanks to this new technology, the Audi models with LED daytime running lights sold in 2008 alone consumed – during just their first year in use – about 10 million fewer litres of fuel and emitted approximately 25,000 fewer metric tons of CO2.

The discovery of "digital light"

Lumens per watt are the "horsepower" of light. For the sake of comparison, an ordinary household light bulb generates about 20-25 lumens per watt. A modern passenger vehicle's xenon headlights, on the other hand, are very energy-efficient and create some 80 lumens per watt.

The first LED headlights in the Pikes Peak concept generated 18 lumens while the next generation of white high-performance LEDs hit the market this year with a whopping 100 lumens per watt – surpassing the efficiency of xenon lights for the first time.

"Digital light" can be made more or less bright electronically and precisely adapted to a driver's needs. Audi developers are convinced that future generations of headlights will react to weather conditions, a vehicle's speed, the distance between vehicles, and potentially dangerous objects.

Huhn concluded: "We're striving to create intelligent headlights and taillights which think and anticipate in the interest of enhancing a driver's safety and comfort. For example, there are already high-beam headlights in pre-series development which will allow drivers to navigate roads at night without temporarily blinding oncoming drivers. This is made possible by a variable distribution of light: An electronic system continuously calculates the distance to any approaching vehicles to ensure that the road ahead is ideally illuminated at all times – without irritating oncoming drivers."



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honeslty...i would still take any ferrari or lambo, aston even porchse over this.


      Yes it nice, fast, powerful and handles well etc....but its just missing something.....that the others have and this dont.


        • 6 Years Ago
        Only thing I can think of is a badge from one those marques.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The reason why people would buy an R8 over a Ferrari besides the price is the practicality. The R8 is less of a garage museum piece and more about driving. If you owned a F430 or 599, you'll be scared to take it out so you'll end up driving it every over new moon and back to the garage it goes after 2 miles.

        I've thought about this before especially for someone like me who can't afford supercars without selling the children and wife, I think I rather own something that I can drive and not worry about speed bumps or resale value.

        Just drive the damn thing and that's why an R8 suits me more than some loud, zooty Ferrari.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "it will be the first car to offer high and low beam LED headlights as standard equipment"

      Wait, is it OFFERED, or is it STANDARD? If it's standard it isn't really "offered", is it?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seems to me "offered" means "option", as in you can order it if you want, or not order it, right?

        By my logic that seems right. If something is optional, it is not standard. If something is standard, it is not optional. Options are "offered". Standard equipment is not offered, because it comes standard.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Rob, I know you're trying to be clever, but your logic (and understanding of the meaning of offer) is simply wrong. Standard equipment is indeed offered for sale, because the customer could ultimately choose not to buy the car at all.

        Audi offers a warranty. Does that mean it's not standard?

      • 6 Years Ago
      And I'll believe it has significantly lower fuel consumption when they post the EPA City/Highway estimates and it's at least 1 mpg better in each than a non-LED version.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Judging by what it said in the article the LED lights on the A4 will save you 0.00470429167 miles per gallon according to Google calculator. Definitely not a savings you will notice at the pump on your 200MPH V10 supercar. If you can afford such a car you most likely aren't pinching pennies anyway. If you are to believe the marketing hype the significance is in the savings to the environment.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ok, I don't know enough about the physics of LED lights.. but

      is it me or are LED lights really bright to the human eye but not very reflective off surfaces and objects? Every time I've used a friend's small keychain LED light and looked at the light, it blinds me but when I shine it on something I can barely see the light reflecting off the object.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Carefully avoided any mention of price, of course. Because it's no longer an affordable supercar. Even the V8 version quickly shot up to Lambo pricing territory.
      Sigh...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Affordable Supercar?
        At $150K starting? LOL NO WAY.

        You want an affordable supercar, get an SRT8, Corvette or CTS-V

        The R-AMG Mommy Superwagon is faster than the R8


        This thing should have LED running lights and HID high beams.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Flashpoint:

        You realize HID high beams is without a doubt the worst idea ever right? HIDs don't achieve max output instantly, and if constantly flashed the bulbs would burn out prematurely.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ^^
      You are correct George, the author of this blog post needs to brush up on their research skills.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder how LED lights would do in snowy conditions. I don't think anybody would be driving one of these in the snow, but when the trickle effect happens and LED headlights find their place on mainstream sedans, there is going to the issue with snow sticking to the lenses.

      When I cleared the snow off my car from a 30 minute drive yesterday, the entire front of the car and high beams were encrusted in snow, but the regular headlights were defrosted. Will they start integrating defrost elements onto LED headlights next?
        • 6 Years Ago
        this is a great point. i guess we'll see more headlight washer nozzles.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Excellent point!

        Washer fluid runs out, so for headlights it may be a solution, but it's not the best.

        What about integrating the heatsink with the headlight cover (metallic bezel)? I would imagine that the LED headlights would produce a decent amount of heat and would require heatsinks, so what if it was used as means to keep snow/ice off the lens? Wouldn't be perfect, but at least you're using waste energy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ' ... The 12-cylinder Audi A8 went into series production soon afterwards as the world's first vehicle with LED daytime running lights. ...'

      In Japan and Hong Kong, the 2008 version of Honda Stepwgn has LED daytime-running light as standard. I think the above quote should read as 'First vehicle in Germany'
        • 6 Years Ago
        the a8 was the first to have DRL leds they are just using the car as example audi has been innovating with leds since the A8 release some years ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh thank God, the headlights are efficient.

      Because that was what was holding me back from buying the V10 R8 instead of a Prius.

      So I'm good now, cool ; )
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just a shame that at the high power levels needed for automotive use, white LEDs become less efficient then HIDs. Notice they only quote savings for the low power day time running lights? Not to mention white LEDs have a very short life span, and cost more then a comparable incandescent or HID bulb
      • 6 Years Ago
      Pics or it didn't happen!!

      Seriously, Audi could have released some nighttime photos of the lights in use :(
      • 6 Years Ago
      It is asinine that they are using cool white LEDs for a vehicle that will drive-outside.

      It is about time that NHTSA did something, like amend FMVSS 108 to preclude LED headlights with a higher CCT than HIDs.
      http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showpost.php?p=2654418&postcount=269

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