Audi Goes Rear Wheel Drive with New Limited Edition R8

Automotive News 11 September 12, 2017 by

Audi is synonymous with its Quattro all-wheel-drive system, with the flagship R8 supercar sitting at the top of the tree.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi has broken with its long standing tradition, and has unveiled a new R8 with rear wheel drive.

The new R8 V10 RWS (Rear Wheel Series) will be a limited-edition variant of the R8 range, unlike its sister, the Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2. Production will be limited to just 999 units worldwide in both Coupe and Spyder forms.

On the outside, styling remains identical to the Quattro-equipped V10, but Audi has given the RWS some very subtle changes. The front grille and air vents are now finished in matte black. The upper section of the R8’s signature sideblade is gloss black, with the lower section going body colored.

An optional decal package is also available for the Coupe, which adds red stripes on the hood, roof and engine cover.

Inside, there are standard sports seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara, as well as a plaque denoting its build unit number.

Power comes from the less powerful version of the car’s 5.2 litre V10 engine, meaning the RWS makes 532hp (540PS) and 398 ft lbs of torque. By removing the Quattro system, the curb weight of the RWS coupe drops by 110lb over the all-wheel-drive version, down to 3505lb. Meanwhile, the Spyder is 88lb lighter than its Quattro variant at 3704lb.

The result of going rear wheel drive means the RWS will hit 62mph from standstill in 3.7 seconds (the Spyder is a tenth slower) before reaching a top speed of 198mph (197 in the Spyder). The V10 Quattro will cover the same sprint in 3.5 seconds.

Audi describes the RWS as a machine “made for purists”, and has apparently designed it for customers “with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment”. Purists looking for a manual gearbox will be disappointed however: the R8 RWS retains the same dual-clutch S-Tronic unit as the Quattro models.

Orders for the R8 RWS in the UK will open on September 15 with prices starting from £110,000. Prices and availability for other markets will be made available at a later date.

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