Thirty-eight years ago, famed daredevil Evel Knievel drove a rocketship across Snake River Canyon. His purpose (and brand message) was simple: “I do it because I’m Evel Knievel.” Patriotic cape flying, the man could never say no to a jump.

Though the average vehicle owner drives for different reasons (groceries need to be picked up, kids have to get to swim practice), Audi aims to inspire the daredevil in its owners. To promote their new performance model, the RS 5, the brand has staged a return to Snake River Canyon.

Accompanied by a team of Audi engineers, a cherry red RS 5 and its anonymous driver speed towards the ramp backed by accelerating drumbeats. He takes off, we see the Audi logo, the sky from the drivers seat…and the 3-minute spot cuts out.

It’s an attention-grabbing ad with its footage of “the last gladiator” and amped-up, color-rich recreation. But without evidence of a safe landing, we’re left to wonder: does Audi’s driver just die? Does the car emerge victorious? One commenter calls the spot “YouTube blueballs.” It’s not a pleasant experience. While a modern sportscar should inspire frivolous daredevil desire, its buyers (or their significant others) might also want some sense of safety.

And I don’t know if they’re legally obligated, but Audi undermines its Evel Knievel vibes with the pre-roll warning: “Always drive safely and respectfully.” Only Subaru drivers pay attention to the fine print, and only idiots need to be told their Audi isn’t really for canyon jumping. It’s just for looking cool and occasionally driving 100 mph on the highway.

Credits after the jump.

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