Why is this special edition Audi R8 called the Panther?

The special edition R8 takes its name from the rarely used paint color that the RS5 also wore this time last year. You might’ve remembered it from the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show.
It also used the “Panther” nomenclature, and to great effect, too.

Lore has it that the Panther Black paint finish isn’t some new concoction by the automaker’s paint experts. It’s been used on Audi models of yesteryear, albeit on very rare occasions. It’s essentially a vaulted pigment that’s only used in the rarest of rare occasions. The Panther Black paint finish looks more like a shade of dark purple up close with a crystal-like effect thrown in for good measure.
It’s very fancy in an elegant way, kind of like looking at the stars in a clear night sky.

Of course, not everything on the exterior is covered in the exclusive paint finish. The mirror caps, for example, are dressed in fancy carbon fiber. The emblems have been blacked out, as have the set of 20-inch wheels. The latter does come with bright red trim that adds a splash of color to the overall visual of the R8 Panther. I do suppose that some people might not be too fond of the red trim on the wheels. There’s something to be said for an all-black R8.

In any event, red plays a more prominent role in the special edition R8, creating some continuity with the exterior look of the supercar. The racing seats, in particular, wear Crimson Red leather with the rest of the cabin trimmed in black leather and Crimson Red stitching. Alcantara is also present in the presentation. The headliner, gear selector, and steering wheel are all dressed in the soft, suede-like synthetic textile material. Speaking of the steering wheel, a Crimson Red marker is visible on the 12-o’clock marker. Audiophiles should be happy to know that a Bang Olufsen sound system comes standard on the R8 Panther with 13 speakers included.

Does the special edition R8 prowl like a panther?

Very much so, though expectations on what prowling means should be taken in context.

All that power goes to the two rear wheels courtesy of a seven-speed automatic transmission and exhaling through a sport exhaust system. While typically subdued like most panthers are when they’re minding their own business, the Audi R8 Panther can leap from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. Make it angry and you can get smoked to the tune of a 201-mph top speed.

How much does the Audi R8 Panther cost?

Pricing for the Audi R8 RWD Panther starts at $186,495. That figure includes a $1,700 gas guzzler tax and a $1,495 destination charge. It’s an admittedly steep price to pay considering that the standard R8 RWD is priced from $142,700. You’re looking at a premium of over $40,000 for the chance to own a super limited R8

Speaking of limited, Audi only plans to send 30 units of the R8 Panther stateside, making it rarer — by a lot — compared to the 100-unit strong RS5 Panther Edition. That’s neither here nor there, though. What matters is that America’s getting the R8 RWD, and a special treat of 30 R8 Panthers is coming along for the ride.

Final Thoughts

Color me intrigued. The Audi R8 Panther not only looks the part of a special edition R8, but the limited quantity makes it that much more desirable. I’m a big fan of the Panther Black paint finish. It’s unique. It’s rare. Most importantly, it looks a lot better on the R8 than it did on the RS5. Sorry, RS5. I’m not a fan of the price tag, but I understand why it’s priced that much. There’s a price to be paid for exclusivity, and in the R8 Panther Edition’s case, that price is an extra $40,000. There’s no other way around it.

    • Cost is steep
    • Limited quantities available
    • No Panther love for the R8 AWD?