Audi Sport has launched a new lightweight version of the R8 V10 that eschews the four-wheel drive quattro system of the standard model for a new rear-wheel drive set-up mirroring that of the company’s R8 LMS race car.
Unveiled on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show, the new R8 V10 RWS (denoting rear-wheel standard drive) is planned to be produced in a limited run of 999 examples in both coupe and open-top Spyder bodystyles. The Australian order book for the new model is planned to open later this year, with deliveries due to get underway in 2018.
“The R8 V10 RWS is made for purists – a limited edition model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment. With a V10 engine and rear-wheel drive, it brings the driving concept of our R8 LMS racing car to the street,” said Audi Sport boss, Stephen Winkelmann.
Power for the Porsche 911 GT3 rival comes from the same mid-rear mounted naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine used by the four-wheel drive R8 V10 quattro. It produces 397kW at 6800rpm and 540Nm of torque at 6500rpm.
The deletion of the propshaft and drive system within the front axle saves 50kg, endowing the coupe version of the new Audi Sport model with a kerb weight of 1590kg and corresponding weight-to-power ratio of 4.0kg per kW.
By comparison, the 1640kg R8 V10 quattro coupe boasts 4.1kg per kW.
Despite the reduction in weight and a superior power-to-weight ratio, though, the rear-wheel drive R8 V10 RWS can’t quite match its four-wheel drive sibling for outright acceleration off the line; it’s claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.7sec is 0.1sec off that of the R8 V10 quattro in coupe guise. But at a claimed 320km/h, the new model matches the existing R8 for top speed.
The R8 V10 RWS Spyder brings an added 90kg in kerb weight as well as a 0-100km/h time of 3.8sec and 318km/h top speed.
Audi Sport reveals the R8 V10 RWS coupe flaunts a decided rear bias weight distribution of 41:59 fron-to-rear and confirms the chassis has been specially tuned to suit its rear-wheel drive delivery of power. The new two-seater ride on standard 19-inch cast aluminium wheels shod with 245/35 tyres at the front and 295/35 tyres at the rear.
A series of subtle styling tweaks help to set the R8 V10 RWS apart from the R8 V10 quattro. Included is a matt black grille insert and air vents up front. The upper section of the car’s so-called sideblade is also finished in high gloss black, with the lower section in body colour – a treatment similar to that seen on the R8 LMS GT4. Buyers can also specify a visual package consisting of red stripes across the bonnet, roof and rear in the coupe.
Inside, the rear-wheel drive model comes with standard sport seats in leather and Alcantara. It also receives an emblem denoting its build number.
In Germany, the R8 V10 RWS is priced at €140,000 for the coupe (€26,000 less than the standard R8 V10) and €153,300 for the Spyder. Australian pricing was not available at the time of writing.