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Would-be drivers queuing up for new Audi sports car

Specialist Audi dealers are holding more than £8m in deposits for a new sports car due to reach UK showrooms in July.

The avalanche of advance orders for the mid-engine, all-drive R8 model means new customers will have to wait until at least the end of next year before taking delivery.

More than 1,200 aficionados of the brand have backed their orders with deposits of £1,500 and 700 have paid a further £10,000 to secure fully-specified vehicles.

“We have been overwhelmed at the response to this car,” says Audi UK product manager James Millett.

“Orders started arriving in 2002 and more than 50 deposits came in after our Le Mans Quattro concept was revealed at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show.

“It means the 1,200 cars we’re due to receive by the end of next year are already accounted for.”

Prices for the 4.2-litre, 187mph two-seater model range from £76,825 to £82,025, but an average option spend of £10,700 will take most transaction prices over the £90,000 mark.

“We have never had to manage such long delays in delivery. It’s entirely fresh territory for us, so we asked our colleagues at Bentley to tell us about their experiences with the Continental GT,” says Millett.

“As a result, we’ve put a three-strong R8 team into head office to deal specifically with dealer and customer enquiries, our 45 specialist R8 centres have provided dedicated showroom space for the model and have appointed personnel to manage the customer process.

“We will also invite customers to a special driving event at Silverstone in the summer. We’re keen to look after these people – particularly so since we found that 20% of them already own Ferraris, Bentleys and Lamborghinis.”

Annual output of the R8 has been set at 5,000 and Britain is expected to be the third biggest market for the car after Germany and the US.

  • The R8 showroom review will feature in the May 18 issue of AM magazine. To subscribe to AM magazine click here or call 01733 468659.

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