First, a welcome to DNA Collectibles, a Swiss company, new to the 1/18-scale die-cast car market. If its beautiful sample of the Audi R8 LMX is indicative of its quality, the market has another fine competitor.
While this gorgeous medium metallic blue R8 is the star here, a quick bit of background on DNA, which was formed by a group of four friends who previously had been a part of Editions Atlas, an international publishing company that makes die-cast models. The core of DNA went its own way after their previous employer shut down and by August of 2017 was up and running. It released its first model in May of 2018
This R8 is one of its latest releases and an Audi TT 3.2 Coupe is just launching. Others in the works include the VW Passat W8, Volvo V70 R and Audi A1 Quattro. The resin-bodied cars are cast in China.
DNA’s goal is to release about 20 cars a year, so roughly two a month. They initially also made 1/43 scale die-cast cars, but now are working solely in 1/18 scale and only creating models of cars that the four friends love and have a great affinity for. They’ve said these often may be cars that other makers have not yet produced, but are iconic models that deserve attention.
Now, on to the R8.
First, this is a looker that Audi launched in 2011 and continues to update. Audi also claims the R8 was the first (BMW argues it though), production car with laser high-beam headlights that greatly improve night vision, claiming up to a half mile of visibility at night. Previous lights only were bright enough to project to a safe distance for a car moving 37 mph.
The R8 is a beast, for its price of about $280,000 when this model was new in 2015. Under its big back window was a naturally aspirated V10, the same engine used by Lamborghini in its Gallardo and Huracan models by the way. This 5.2-liter V10 made 570 horsepower while churning out 398 lb.-ft. of torque.
If that doesn’t sound horsey enough to you, consider its top speed of 199 mph and that it would slip from 0-60 mph in just over 3 seconds and 0-100 mph in 7.1 seconds. Helping put that power to the pavement was a 7-speed dual clutch automatic tranny and high-tech ceramic brakes whoa-ed down this flying horse.
A light-weight rocket, Audi’s R8 trips the scales at just 3,700 lbs.
First, the shape is beautiful and right on the mark, plus you’ve gotta love the carbon fiber look panel behind the doors on each side, plus the carbon fiber mirrors, rear spoiler and nose winglets. Then there are those industry-first laser headlights. The model’s mimic the lasers on the real deal with 6 lights atop three lowers of the same size and one larger light to the outside, all under large lenses. Up front is a matte black grille and vents front and rear with black mesh backing.
No speedster is complete without a stout powerplant and it’s always way cool when you can see a car’s engine under its back window. This one looks absolutely beautiful neatly packaged beneath a black-trimmed window. There’s meshwork beside the engine, plus detailed headers with Audi logos emblazoned on top. This is a sealed body model, so no way to open the hatch, doors or front bonnet.
Below are wide treaded tires with no branding, and finely shaped latticework wheels with giant detailed drilled discs and red calipers behind the wheel. Those calipers feature Audi R8 logos.
Inside, there’s a handsome black interior although a little tough to see well since the car’s doors don’t open. DNA provides a flat-bottom wheel, sharp dash and gauges, plus detailed center stack and screen along with a floor-mounted shifter with what looks like a leather boot, although on the real car only an automatic is available. Interior door panels have a carbon fiber look and the seats are a matte black, but no seat or shoulder belts are included. Note too, this Audi is a left-hand drive model.
Outside there’s also a silver fuel filler cap with “R8” on its. That’s located on the passenger’s side, atop the carbon fiber panel behind the door. Mirrors are well shaped too and feature true mirrored faces.
The R8 comes attached to an acrylic base over fiberboard and comes in a box that’s contained in a black cloth bag that DNA says you can used to dust your model, if you’re the type who leaves it displayed on a desktop. You also could buy an acrylic top from DNA to place over the display base.
Vital Stats: Audi R8 LMX
Maker: DNA Collectibles
Stock No.: DNA000031
MSRP: $202.80 (VAT included)