After years of building its performance car credentials around its “quattro” four-wheel drive brand, Audi’s new rear wheel drive only R8 is set to hit UK roads this March. The latest version of the V10 super sports car makes history as the first ever rear-driven series production Audi model. Priced from £112,450 OTR, the new R8 Rear Wheel Series (RWS) is available as a Coupé or Spyder.
Despite the overtly rearward bias in the drivetrain, performance off the line is still outstanding with the 0-62mph sprint dispatched in just 3.7 seconds (Spyder: 3.8 seconds) and the pace remaining furious until v-max at 198mph (Spyder: 197mph). The mid-mounted V10 engine, which is now one of the last naturally aspirated powerplants in the segment, produces 540PS and peak torque of 540 Nm (398.3 lb-ft) at 6,500 rpm. Its enthralling, visceral sound can be further enhanced by the fitment of a sports exhaust.
The Coupé weighs 1,590 kilograms, 50 kilograms less than the R8 Coupé with all-wheel drive which needs additional components like the propshaft, multi-plate clutch and centre differential. The Spyder is 40 kilograms lighter. The electromechanical power steering is completely free of torque steer and enables precise handling. The chassis setup and control systems allow controlled drifts if the driver chooses dynamic mode in the standard Audi drive select and sets the Stabilisation Control ESC to “Sport”. The ESC intervenes reliably at the limit to keep handling in check. Focused yet full UK specification.
The new R8 variant features a matt black grille and matt black air apertures at the front and rear of the car. The upper sideblade of the Coupé is finished in gloss black, with the lower blade in body colour. Similar to the R8 LMS GT 4, a red Audi Sport decal running over the bonnet, roof and over the rear spoiler can be optionally applied to the Coupé.
Inside, the driver and passenger sit in heated sport seats covered in leather and Alcantara. Bucket seats upholstered in rotor grey or black perforated Fine Nappa leather are also available as an option. As another visual identifier, the dashboard bears an emblem “1 of 999” indicating the limited number of units. The Audi R8 V10 RWS is fitted as standard with black-finished, 19-inch, cast aluminium wheels in a five-spoke V-design that are exclusive to the model, with 245/35 tyres up front and 295/35 at the rear. As an alternative, optional 20-inch forged aluminium alloy wheels in either matt titanium or gloss anthracite black are shod with 245/30 front tyres and 305/30 rears.
Its specification mirrors that of the R8 V10 quattro, featuring all-LED headlights and LED rear lights with dynamic indicators as well as the Audi Virtual Cockpit, the high-definition Audi Sound System, MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch and a suite of Audi connect Infotainment services. The Advanced Key, Cruise control and the front and rear parking system plus complete the standard equipment package. Further enhancements can be made to the infotainment and assistance systems on board by specifying options such as Audi Laser Light extending the headlight range, a specially developed Bang & Olufsen sound system, the Audi Phone Box and Smartphone Interface.
For the R8 Spyder RWS, a fully automated hood that retracts in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph can be finished in black, red or brown, contrasting with the seven paint finishes, or one of the 50 hues in the Audi exclusive palette.