As we reach the final weeks of 2016, in many ways it feels like the start of a new era. The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions, Back to the Future–style self-adjusting sneakers have become a reality, and production cars officially have lasers. For the first time in the U.S., Audi will be offering headlights that combine LEDs with laser high-beams in an extremely limited version of the that's creatively named the Exclusive Edition.
Technically, the 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus Exclusive Edition is not the first production car in the United States to have this type of lighting technology. That honor belongs to a different six-figure car, the , which first had lasers overseas at its debut in the 2014 model year and brought them to U.S. buyers in 2016. Nevertheless, this is a big deal and indicative of where may lie.
Contrary to what you might be thinking, the tech behind these supercar lights is a little different than Superman's solar-powered heat vision. Each headlight unit has a module with four laser diodes. The energy from those diodes is packaged into one single blue light, which Audi incorporated into the slick housing design. That blue light then runs through a phosphor lens, which converts the blue to a bright white that extends much farther and gives greater visibility than a traditional headlight. The lasers are reserved for high-beams that only operate above 40 mph "when conditions permit," Audi said, as a supplement to the LED high-beams. So, unless you're driving on a lot of desolate country roads, they will be rarely seen—much like this model, which is limited to 25 examples.
In addition to showing off lighting advancements, this special R8 is intended to show just how far customers can take customization with Audi's bespoke Exclusive Program. The V10 Plus features a Quantum Gray exterior, a Titanium Black Optic package, 20-inch, 10-spoke gloss-anthracite wheels, and a Solar Orange stripe along the R8's signature carbon-fiber side panel. The interior is as Tony Starked out as you'd expect, with black and Signal Orange leather, and microsuede everywhere—even in the trunk.