The rear-wheel-drive Audi R8 has been resurrected as a regular-production model for the 2021 model year and to celebrate the model’s arrival, Audi is producing a limited-edition variant called Panther developed exclusively for the United States.
Named after the animal, not after Ford’s long-lived body-on-frame architecture, the Pan ther is offered only as a coupe. It wears Pan ther Black paint (it has a crystal effect that resembles a starlit sky), carbon fiber mirror caps, black emblems all around, and black 20-inch wheels with red accents. Summer performance tires come standard. If this specification sounds familiar, it’s probably because the RS 5 wore it first
Stepping inside the Panther reveals black leather upholstery with red contrast stitching on the dashboard and on the door panels, a pair of sport seats wrapped in red leather, and Alcantara on the headliner. Navigation and a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 13 speakers are among the highlights from the standard equipment list.
Audi made no mechanical modifications to the Panther, so power comes from a naturally-aspirated, 5.2-liter V10 which produces 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. Mounted behind the passenger compartment, it exhales through a sport exhaust, and it sends its power to the rear wheels only via a seven-speed automatic transmission. Floor it, and you’ll see 60 mph appear on the digital instrument cluster in 3.6 seconds.