December 14, 2006
Text and Photos: Karl Muth and Jennifer Andrade
MIAMI — During the weekend when some of the most important names in art and fashion held parties into the wee hours of the night, one automotive brand made an important product introduction: Audi.
Among the weekends highlights was the private debut of the R8 to one of the most important groups of qualified buyers, those in town for Art Basel Miami. Not only were attendees likely to be good prospects as R8 customers, but many are thought- and style-leaders and able to create a buzz among their friends that few advertising campaigns can match. Even at the curbside Audi had one reason to think its newest product might be well-received: a substantial number of the guests arrived in Bentley products, Bentley being a fellow Volkswagen brand.
The crowd gathered at the Design Miami event space at 4040 N.E. Second Avenue to see the R8, talk about specs and ordering and to simply sit in the car many had only seen in magazines. Events like this serve to affiliate the Audi brand closely with fashion, design, and cultural events with an international appeal. This continues the vision that the same design and engineering excellence that has made Audi a force at Le Mans can be equally powerful in making Audi a magnet for consumers interested in design, art, and engineering away from the racetrack.
Those enthusiasts who, in the past, have worried Audi is not doing enough on the ground or not seeing its market face-to-face neednt worry so far as the R8 is concerned. With the positive reception the car received in Miami, do not be surprised to see an R8 at future art shows, fashion weeks, and similar events.
Among the juicy gossip shared at the event (none of it of course verified as far as we could tell) was that the R8 had put up phenomenal times at the famed Nurburghring in its V8 form and that the upcoming V10 would improve this performance even further. We also heard that the official US first year allotment of R8s stands at 200 vehicles, and that they would begin appearing Stateside around August 2007.
Audi passed out R8-shaped chocolates to attendees and offered follow-up via a special website set up for the event.
- R8 at Design Miami Exclusive Video
- Design Miami/ 2006 Photo Gallery
- Audi at Design Miami/ 2006 in Florida
- Audi R8 Discussion Forum