By Zack Zeigler
Simply stated: Tony Stark is a baller
. Forget for a moment that he's the man underneath Iron Man's suit of armor, and there's still no other term to describe him. He has cash like Bill Gates, brains like Stephen Hawking and the nonchalance of a youthful Jack Nicholson.
The Audi R8:
The Automotive Star
of "Iron Man"
It's fitting that in the film "Iron Man" - which hits theaters nationwide on May 2 - a high-roller like Stark would cruise the streets in the German engineered gem, the Audi R8. Not only does the R8 possess the ability of a racecar, but has the interior room, comforts and finish that epitomize it as the mold for the postmodern sports car.
Audi's goal was to set their creation apart from other Italian staples in mid-engine genre (which refers to vehicles that have their engines between the rear and front axles). With Automobile Magazine giving the R8 two awards: "Design of the Year" and "Car of the Year" and MSN also awarding it "Car of the Year" ahead of the Ferarri 430 and the BMW M3, that objective seems to have been met.
The R8's aesthetic
splendor is undeniable
The R8's presence is undeniable; at first glance, certain features are impossible to ignore: the intimidating grooves in the bumper that are aerodynamically essential to assist with air flow as well as emit aesthetic appeal and structural confidence. An aluminum body with bold character, a poised frame, a low sill, large doors and an arched side-window profile highlight its aesthetic splendor.
Okay, so the 4.2-liter V-8 engine that proudly sits on display under plate glass in the rear of the vehicle won't allow the car to take flight; a slight contrast to Iron Man and his jet boots, of course. But Audi was thinking safety, and not trying to duplicate a super hero's armor or Doc Brown's Delorian from "Back to the Future." To guarantee the car would remain grounded, side blades and a spoiler that erects at 74-mph to increase downforce were installed. It's an innovation that someone with an MIT degree in engineering, like Stark, could certainly appreciate.
Ready to take flight
Besides the flying capabilities, there are some similarities that Iron Man shares with the R8.
The hidden treasures inside the car blur the line between performance and style - much like Iron Man's badass suit of armor. With a 420-horsepower engine underneath the hood specifically tailored to raise eyebrows, the R8 can rocket to 62-mph in a crowd-wowing 4.6 seconds, and reach a top speed of 187-mph.
The punishment Shellhead's armor can withstand is also another commonality the two have. Audi didn't create the R8 for lame Sunday drivers; it was tested in extreme weather conditions ranging from frigid mountaintops to blazing hot, dirt-laced roads to ensure it'd withstand any and all challenges.
The R8's features inside the cabin are also kept within close proximity of the cockpit. Keeping the hands on the wheel while captaining such a powerful whip are imperative to safety and to maintain control. That's why everything from dashboard keys to climate controls to the center console are all close by. Iron Man could value those details; imagine if he needed his Mark III anti-missiles but their trigger was too far towards his back pocket?
The 210 LCD headlights bare a remarkable likeness to the lenses in Iron Man's helmet and the Unibeam that sits center in his chest; the headlight module contains daytime running lights, which ensure that the R8's blast of soft-glowing beams will spot every visible molecule in its long-range distance.
The R8 does not come equipped with light energy projectiles, a helmet that contains communication devices, scanning equipment or recording devices. For those features, there is only one distributor that can help out and all inquiries should be directed to the customer service department of Stark Enterprises - not Audi.
To see the beauty and excellence in the Audi R8, one doesn't need to have a genius-level intellect like Tony Stark. It's a car that fuses style, grace and swagger successfully and flawlessly. Next to acquiring a suit of armor like Iron Man, perhaps the next best thing could be zipping around town in the Audi R8.
However, a car with such prestige isn't cheap, so unless one hundred grand is hidden under the mattress and ready for spending, the best way to catch a glimpse of the R8 is to pay to see it on the big screen in "Iron Man" on May 2.
Need to catch up on your Iron Man reading? Looking for the perfect stories starring Ol' Shellhead? Check out our list of the 10 Collections marked as required reading by any Iron Man fan!
See "Iron Man" now at a theater near you! Visit the official "Iron Man" movie site! Also, get INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 at comic retailers everywhere, Wed., May 7!