Audi has announced a limited-edition rear-wheel drive version of their R8 V10 supercar; what they describe as a “purists” version of the R8.
The first modern Audi to use RWD, the R8 V10 RWS (Rear Wheel Series) was inspired by the R8 LMS race car, and will be offered in both coupe and spyder body styles, but production will be limited to a total of 999 units.
“A limited-edition special model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment, the R8 V10 RWS is an absolutely exclusive offer,” said Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH.
“With its mid-mounted V10 engine and rear-wheel drive, it successfully brings the driving concept of our R8 LMS racing car to the streets.”
The RWS uses the same 5.2-litre FSI naturally-aspirated V10 engine as the quattro, producing 397kW and 540Nm, while economy is listed at 12.4lt/100km for the coupe and 12.6lt/100km for the spyder version.
Removing the centre diff, front propshaft and other componentry from the front axle means the RWS weighs in at 1509kg; 50kg lighter than the quattro equivalent (40kg lighter in the spyder version), and power-to-weight is improved. Front:rear weight distribution is now 40.6:59.4 in the coupe, but Audi say they have tuned both the chassis and suspension to suit rear-wheel drive and that the result is “incredibly fun driving”.
The loss of additional traction from the driven front wheels means the R8 V10 RWS is slightly slower off the mark than its quattro counterpart, taking 3.7 seconds to reach 100km/h, compared to the quattro version’s 3.4 seconds (coupe version in both instances). Top speed, however, is the same at 320km/h (318km/h in the spyder).
As you might imagine, removing drive from the front wheels means the R8 V10 RWS has potential for more tail-out driving. Engaging “dynamic” in the drive select system and setting the Stabilization Control ESC to “Sport” means four-wheel drifting can be done in the RWS, but the ESC does cut in “at the limit”. Driver control is enhanced through the standard electromechanical power steering, which does not suffer from torque steer.
Externally, the R8 V10 RWS is little different from the R8 V10 quattro, with the few visual differentiators including matte black grille and air vent inserts, as well as a special treatment of the R8’s signature ‘Sideblade’ styling feature. In RWS application, the blade’s upper section is finished in gloss black and the lower section in body colour. A stripe that runs over the bonnet, roof and rear engine cover is an extra-cost option. Black 19-inch alloy wheels are standard.
Inside, sports seats trimmed in leather and alcantara are standard, but less racy bucket seats are available as an option. Each RWS also gets a dash plaque bearing the limited-edition’s number.
Order books open shortly for the R8 V10 RS, with first deliveries to Europe and the UK expected in early 2018. European pricing is listed at 140,000 euros for the coupe and 153,000 euros for the spyder. Australia will receive a handful of the total 999 units produced, with deliveries expected in Q2, 2018, and pricing, although yet to be confirmed, likely to start in the $300,000+ range.