Only 999 units of this rear-wheel drive Audi R8 will be built

It should come as no surprise that while in search for a little differentiation for its R8 lineup, Audi decided to develop a special edition model that ditched one of its most important claims to fame: the quattro all-wheel-drive system. And so there it was at the Frankfurt Motor Show for all the world to see. The limited edition Audi R8 officially goes by the name R8 V10 RWS, and according to Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winkelmann, it’s a model that Audi developed specifically for purists with an “appreciation for essential driving enjoyment.”

The special edition R8 V10 is limited to just 999 units and each one of them will ditch the automaker’s famous quattro AWD system in favor of rear-wheel drive. That’s the car’s claim to fame, above all else, and it’s a claim that no other variant of the current-generation Audi R8 has. Beyond the RWD offering, the R8 V10 also features a good amount of exterior and interior changes, as well as significant modifications to its chassis and suspension to accommodate the rear-wheel drive set-up. If it’s hard to imagine what an RWD Audi R8 is all about, think of it as a lighter version of the standard R8 that’s been tuned specifically to put more control of the car in the driver’s hands. Think drifting in an AWD R8 is cool? Well, imagine what you can do with an R8 that sends all of its power in the rear wheels. This is what the Audi R8 V10 RWS is offering, among other things. Better be quick though because only 999 units will be made. Miss out on one and you’re once again staring at the aftermarket tuning scene to get your rear-wheel drive R8 fix.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

  • 2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V10
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    540
  • Torque @ RPM:
    399
  • Displacement:
    5.2 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    199 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Exterior
- image 730587
The most prominent exterior feature though is the red racing stripe that runs from the hood of the car all to the way to the rear end

On the surface, the Audi R8 V10 RWS still looks like an Audi R8 V10. There are no significant physical transformations that make it look any different from other versions of the R8 that are in the market right now. But just because it’s still an R8 at its core, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be packaged differently. Exclusive styling cues define the R8 V10 RWS as a special edition model, including the matte black grille, matte black air apertures at the front and rear, and a gloss black upper side blade that’s exclusive to the coupe version of the R8 V10 RWS variant. The most prominent exterior feature though is the red racing stripe that runs from the hood of the car all to the way to the rear end. The lucky 999 customers who manage to get their hands on the R8 V10 RWS will have the option of getting their sports cars with or without these stripes.

How does it compare to other recent Audi special editions?

2018 Audi R8 Coupe Audi Sport Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 713360

Note: photo of the Audi R8 Audi Sport Edition

Truth be told, the biggest selling point of the R8 V10 RWS isn’t in its physical characteristics so you can excuse it for looking pedestrian compared to other recent special edition versions of the sports car. It certainly doesn’t look as provocative as the R8 Audi Sport Edition, a special edition model launched in April 2017 to celebrate the success of the Audi R8 LMS race car. That SE model featured not one, not two, but three different exterior colors (red, silver, and black) a nod to the traditional colors used by Aud’s racing division. Those who bought the 200-unit R8 Audi Sport Edition had a choice of dressing the sports car up in Floret, Silver, Mythos Black, or Ibis Silver. Regardless of the color, all 200 units of the SE sports car came with side blades, hurter window covers, and mirror caps dressed in Brilliant Red. Likewise, titanium black was used as the color of choice on the front spoiler, single-frame grille, and the rear diffuser insert.

From a head-to-head standpoint, the R8 Audi Sport Edition looks more pleasing to the eyes than the R8 V10 RWS

From a head-to-head standpoint, the R8 Audi Sport Edition looks more pleasing to the eyes than the R8 V10 RWS. Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who finds more appeal in the cleaner-looking, rear-wheel drive R8 V10.

Interior

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Interior
- image 730629

You should be happy to know that while the interior of the R8 V10 RWS is still standard R8, it did receive some fancy new digs in the form of leather- and Alcantara-covered sports seats. Even better, there is an option to remove the standard seats for bucket seats since the latter comes as an option. And to give it a true exclusive touch, the special edition R8 V10 will come with a numbered “# of 999” emblem on the dashboard signifying its status as a legitimate limited edition model.

The special edition R8 V10 will come with a numbered “# of 999” emblem on the dashboard signifying its status as a legitimate limited edition model

By comparison, the previously mentioned R8 Audi Sport Edition also came with its own dose of exclusive interior goodies. Chief among them is a similar leather treatment on the sports seats, specifically the use of black and Express Red Nappa leather. That’s on top of the door panels also getting wrapped in the same leather feature. Dark silver stitching also appears in the cabin of the R8 Audi Sport Edition, specifically on the steering wheel, door trim, and seats. Same with the gloss carbon inlays, which can be found on the dashboard, A/C vents, and center console. Then there’s the flat-bottom steering wheel, which itself is special enough without even mentioning the race-specific 12 o’clock stripe that it comes with. Last but certainly not least is its signifier: a # of 200” inscription doing on the aluminum door sill inlays.

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Interior
- image 730628
2018 Audi R8 Coupe Audi Sport Edition High Resolution Interior
- image 713352
Audi R8 V10 RWS Audi R8 Audi Sport Edition

Once more, the R8 Audi Sport Edition appears to have the leg-up in terms of exclusive interior features. The R8 V10 RWS does hold its own in this category so that’s a notch in its belt, too.

Drivetrain

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 730619

Given its new driving configuration, you would think that Audi made some slight tweaks and tunes to the R8 V10’s naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-10 engine. Unfortunately, that’s not the case because power for the R8 V10 RWS still maxes out at 540 horsepower and 399 pound-feet of torque. It’s a little disappointing, sure, but it’s not like the sports car is a slouch with those figures. It’s still capable of accelerating from a standstill position to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and 3.8 seconds in the case of the Spyder. Likewise, the top speed still goes up to a tidy 199 mph for the Coupe model and 198 mph for the Spyder.

Chassis and Suspension

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Exterior
- image 730550

Here’s where the good part comes in. Since the R8 is rear-wheel drive, Audi was able to cut the sports car’s weight to just 1,590 kilos (3,505 pounds) by eliminating components like the propshaft, multi-plate clutch, and center differential, all of which are used specifically with an all-wheel drive. The result is a car that’s 50 kilos (110.2 pounds) lighter than the all-wheel-drive R8 Coupe. It’s the same story with the Spyder version of the special edition sports car as it now weighs just 1,680 kilos (3,704 pounds), 40 kilos (88.2 pounds) lighter than the all-wheel-drive R8 Spyder.

The result is a car that’s 50 kilos (110.2 pounds) lighter than the all-wheel-drive R8 Coupe

The work that was put into improving the R8 V10 RWS’ chassis and suspension goes to show how far Audi is willing to go to give its customers a car that’s worthy of its name and billing. Even something as seemingly innocuous as the axle load distribution was tinkered with to give weight to Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winkelman’s claim that the R8 V10 RWS “is made for purists.” Take the axle load distribution for both examples. Audi specifically adjusted the ratio between the front and rear axles to 40.6:59.4 on the Coupe and 40.4:59.6 on the Spyder so that both models can adapt its rear-wheel drive setup and translate it into the kind of driving experience that maximizes every technical and mechanical element of the sports car.

Prices

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Exterior
- image 730552
2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Exterior
- image 730551

You’ve probably inferred by now that the Audi R8 V-10 RWS is available in either coupe or convertible variants. For now, availability appears to be limited to just the German market and other European countries. That said, the R8 V-10 RWS is priced at €140,000 ($167,200) while the Spyder version retails for €153,000 ($182,700). The special edition R8 will become available in the next few months. Those lucky enough to get their hands on one of the 999 units should expect their cars to arrive sometime in the start of 2018.

Competition

Porsche 911 Turbo

2017 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 658184
2017 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior
- image 658182

It’s hard to imagine a more fun race than seeing the Audi R8 V-10 RWS square up against the Porsche 911 Turbo. Neither are considered the fastest and most powerful sports cars in the world, but from a pure driving perspective, these two sports cars are a notch above the rest. The 911 Turbo, in particular, can hit 580 horsepower in its "S" variant. That’s good enough to propel the sports car to a 0-60-mph-time of 2.9 seconds on its way to hitting a top speed of 200 mph.

Read our full review on the Porsche 911 Turbo.

Conclusion

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Exterior
- image 730567

There’s really not much to say here other than "thank you, Audi." This is not a dig on the AWD R8 because the German automaker is one of the best automakers when it comes to developing AWD systems with its legendary quattro.

That said, it is refreshing to see Audi listen to calls for a rear-wheel drive R8 and actually do something about it. It’s been a long wait for an RWD R8 to arrive. It’s here now and while I am disappointed that it’s going to be a limited-run model with no status of it heading to the U.S., I am happy to see Audi come through on its word of giving customers want they want.

  • Leave it
    • * No power gains
    • * Limited availability
    • * No word on U.S. allocation

References

Audi R8

2017 - 2018 Audi R8 High Resolution Exterior
- image 420832

Read our full review on the Audi R8.

Press release

The Audi Sport GmbH is extending its R8 model series to include a new derivative with rear-wheel drive. The Audi R8 V10 RWS (Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.6 – 12.4, combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 286 – 283**) comes in a limited series of 999 units with both Coupé and Spyder variants. It will be rear-driven (Rear Wheel Series) and be built exclusively by hand at the Böllinger Höfe R8 factory.

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 730562

“The R8 V10 RWS is made for purists,” said Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH. “A limited-edition special model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment, the R8 V10 RWS is an absolutely exclusive offer. 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.”

Matt black design elements, optional films
The puristic character of the new R8 variant is underscored by the matt black grille of the Singleframe and the matt black air apertures at the front and rear of the car. The upper sideblade (of the Coupé) is finished in gloss black, the lower blade in the body color. Similar to the R8 LMS GT 4, the Coupé is available with an optional red film running over the hood, roof and rear end. Inside, the driver and passenger sit in sport seats covered in leather and Alcantara. Bucket seats are available as an option. The dashboard bears an emblem “1 of 999,” indicating the limited number of units.

5.2 FSI engine – one of the last naturally aspirated engines in its segment
The mid-mounted V10 engine of the Audi R8 V10 RWS produces 397 kW (540 hp). It delivers its peak torque of 540 Nm (398.3 lb-ft) at 6,500 rpm. The 5.2 FSI engine accelerates the Coupé from 0 to 100 km/h (0 – 62.1 mph) in 3.7 seconds (Spyder: 3.8 seconds) and beyond to a top speed of 320 km/h (198.8 mph) (Spyder: 318 km/h [197.6 mph]). With the top closed, average fuel consumption of the R8 V10 RWS is 12.4 liters per 100 kilometers (19.0 US mpg), corresponding to 283 grams CO2 per kilometer (455.4 g/mi). With the top open, these figures are 12.6 liters (18.7 US mpg) and 286 grams CO2 per kilometer (460.3 g/mi).

Specially tuned chassis setup allows controlled drifts
The Coupé weights 1,5090 kilograms (3,505.3 lb) (without driver). 50 kilograms (110.2 lb) less than the R8 Coupé with all-wheel drive which needs additional components like propshaft, multi-plate clutch and center differential. The Spyder is 40 kilograms (88.2 lb) lighter than the R8 Spyder V10, weighing in at 1,680 kilograms (3,703.8 lb) (without driver). The axle load distribution of 40.6:59.4 (Coupé) and 40.4:59.6 (Spyder) together with chassis and handling tuning specially adapted for rear-wheel drive provide for incredibly fun driving.

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 730563

The chassis setup and control systems allow controlled drifts if the driver chooses “dynamic” mode in the standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system and sets the Stabilization Control ESC to “Sport”. The ESC intervenes reliably at the limit. The electromechanical power steering is completely free of torque steer and enables precise handling. The Audi R8 V10 RWS rolls standard on black-finished, 19-inch, cast aluminum wheels in a five-spoke V-design, with 245/35 tires up front and 295/35 at the rear.

The Audi R8 V10 RWS will be available for order in Germany and other european countries from autumn 2017, and from the beginning of 2018 the first units will hit the streets.The Coupé starts at 140,000 euros, the Spyder at 153,000 euros.

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