Not too long ago, the only car that had LEDs on its nose was the Knight Industries Two Thousand from that most 80s of television shows, Knight Rider. These days however, LED technology has progressed beyond KITT's sweeping red bar to something that more closely resembles a proper headlight, and in a first for a European manufacturer Audi have developed an all-LED headlight cluster for their R8 supercar.
While the R8 has always had those 24 LED running lights (which, incidentally, make me involuntarily cream myself whenever I see them), the $7439 AUD LED option adds LED low and high beams into the mix, as well as orange LED indicators. What's the advantage of LEDs you ask? Try lower power demand, mechanical simplicity and resistance to vibration. Colour temperature is around 6000k too, which means the LED lamps emit a light that's very similar to daylight which increases contrast and therefore nighttime safety. They also look pretty cool.
They're smaller and easier to package than your conventional halogen or gas discharge bulbs, meaning all those zany headlight designs you see on autoshow concept cars stand a better chance of making it into production. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on which concept you're talking about, but at least it gives designers more freedom when it comes to designing light clusters.
There's no word as yet whether we'll see these on the options list for Australian R8s (in fact, I'm not sure if there's an Australian Design Rule that covers the use of LED headlights), but we're sure that they won't be far away. Pester your local Audi dealer to find out how far.