2008 Audi R8: ovR8ed experience
August 14, 2008
"Why are those people staring at us?" my girlfriend asks. We're just trying to get some fruit, albeit from the popular Farmer's Market at the Grove in Los Angeles, but the facts don't change: The two of us are just doing some grocery shopping and people won't leave us alone.
"Ignore them" I tell her, "the poor don't deserve our attention." By the time my head stopped ringing from the smack to the head, we had miraculously found a parking space, exited the car and were sipping tripple iced espressos.
When returning to the car, bags in hand, we were startled by a group of teens surrounding the R8. "Great car!" "I saw this at the auto show!" "Is it fast?" My replies were pleasant and I didn't bludgeon or threaten any of them with the cane I had been carrying due to a knee injury. (I did make various threats to children playing, upset that they were on the lawn.)
I just wanted to put my groceries into the absurdly small frunk (front trunk), go home and go to bed. This wasn't Cars and Coffee, this wasn't Hot Import Nights; it was simply a hot Wednesday night where I happened to have a car and some coffee.
And this brings me to my thesis statement: Supercars are dumb.
Before you get your Countach poster all in a bunch, follow the jump.
I guess it's the New Englander in me speaking, but I prefer things to be functional and understated. The other day I saw a hammer made of titanium with some carbon fiber stickers on it. Earlier that very same day (which explains why I was in the hammer aisle) I built an Ikea night table with, literally, a penny, the allen wrench that came with the thing, and a can of tuna for a hammer and, when placed on its side, a level. Not only did it handle the task of securing finishing nails into a piece of fiberboard, it was also delicious! And currently the empty can is being used to hold spare change. Can the fancy-pants hammer do that? No, it's nothing more than a shiny expensive unitasker.
Such is life with the Audi R8 and in my experience, virtually every supercar. Sure they do what they do very well, but the cost of ownership is absurd. No, not the financial cost, but the emotional cost. Gone is your privacy and, to an extent, your dignity. Driving the R8 is phenomenal. Driving the R8 also makes you "that guy." The guy who has a supercar is not to be envied. The guy driving the supercar down Sunset is the guy with an ego problem, not a passion for cars.
Growing up I lived next door to a rock star. He ditched "the life" and moved to a quiet town to start a small farm. I never understood the decision. He had fame, fortune and to steal a quote from Futurama, "access to the depths of sleaze that those things bring." It wasn't until driving the R8 that his life path made some sense; He didn't need the attention.
Kudos on the R8, Audi, but my sense of self worth is just fine, I'll have an Rs4.
I'm just not desperate enough to own a supercar.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant.