Sports cars are like your high school prom dress. As much as you wanted to wear that special gown over and over again, you couldn’t. You learned this lesson, probably from a parent, who told you as much. You can’t wear it to school—you’ll ruin it, it’s not practical. But there’s a deeper reason that goes unsaid because it’s almost impossible to articulate.
Back then, this rule made no sense to you. If you’ve got something incredible to wear, why not wear it every day? Why wear something less impressive on purpose? Well, likely, because it’s gauche and graceless.
Sports cars are the same. You cannot drive them every day, even though that would be incredible. They’re often delicate, not practical, and require constant cleaning to look their best.
Prom dresses and sports cars are equally of their time—cutting edge when new, but almost instantly out of style. An orange ’90s Lamborghini Diablo looks just as ridiculous today as Molly Ringwald’s polka-dot prom dress from the 1986 flick Pretty in Pink. Maybe one day they’ll be desirable again, but they’ll always be symbols of a place and time.
Mostly, it’s kind of showy to always drive around in a bright, attention-grabbing piece of exotica. Yes, gauche and graceless.
But what if it wasn’t?
Audi’s latest sports car is different from all others that have come before in two crucial ways: one, it doesn’t make a sound when driven because, two, it’s powered only by electricity.
The R8 e-tron will be the first electric sports car from a major automaker to be put into regular production. It’s what they call a milestone.
From the outside it looks more-or-less like the rest of the all-new 2016 R8 lineup, which is to say sleek and modern. It’s understated, especially compared to its peers. Underneath, the car is basically a gigantic laptop battery, connected to a couple of motors: one at the front, the other at the back. Audi says you’ll be able to drive about 450 kilometres on a single charge. But don’t worry; it’s still fast.
Never having to visit a gas station again does sound appealing. To recharge the e-tron, just plug it into an outlet in your garage.
So, is it graceless to drive a sports car that pumps zero carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere? Or gauche to cruise silently down the street? The answer is no: this R8 is neither gauche nor graceless. Unlike the sports cars of the past 100 years, the e-tron won’t rattle windows or send dogs running for cover with an anti-social exhaust noise. Maybe that’s a first for a sports car.
The Audi R8 e-tron is the prom dress you can wear every day.