Rear-drive R8 tar­gets purists

Autocar - - NEWS -

AUDI SPORT TOOK the wraps off a se­cond car at Frank­furt: a new light­weight ver­sion of the R8 V10 that, in­stead of the qu­at­tro four-wheel drive sys­tem of the stan­dard model, has a new rear-wheel drive set-up mir­ror­ing that of the com­pany’s R8 LMS race car.

The R8 V10 RWS (de­not­ing rear-wheel stan­dard drive) will be pro­duced in a lim­ited run of 999 ex­am­ples in both coupé and con­vert­ible bodystyles. The UK or­der book for the new model will open dur­ing the fourth quar­ter of 2017, with de­liv­er­ies due to get un­der way early next year.

Audi Sport boss Stephan Winkel­mann said: “The R8 V10 RWS is made for purists — a lim­ited-edi­tion model for cus­tomers with an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for es­sen­tial driv­ing en­joy­ment. With a V10 and rear-wheel drive, it brings the driv­ing con­cept of our R8 LMS rac­ing car to the street.”

Power for the rear-wheeldrive R8 comes from the same mid/rear-mounted nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 5.2-litre V10 petrol en­gine used by the R8 V10 qu­at­tro. It pro­duces 532bhp at 6800rpm and 398lb ft of torque at 6500rpm.

The dele­tion of the prop­shaft and drive sys­tem within the front axle saves 50kg. That en­dows the coupé ver­sion of the new Audi Sport model with a kerb weight of 1590kg and a cor­re­spond­ing power-to-weight ra­tio of 335bhp per tonne.

By com­par­i­son, the 1640kg R8 V10 qu­at­tro coupé has 324bhp per tonne.

De­spite the re­duc­tion in weight and a su­pe­rior pow­erto-weight ra­tio, the R8 V10 RWS can’t quite match its four-wheel-drive sibling for stand­ing-start ac­cel­er­a­tion. Its claimed 0-62mph time of 3.6sec is 0.2sec off that of the R8 V10 qu­at­tro in coupé guise. How­ever, at a claimed 199mph, the new model matches the ex­ist­ing R8 for top speed.

A se­ries of sub­tle styling tweaks help to set the R8 V10 RWS apart from the R8 V10 qu­at­tro. These in­clude a matt black grille in­sert and air vents at the 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 coupé.

In­side, the rear-wheeldrive model comes with stan­dard sport seats in leather and Al­can­tara. It also re­ceives an em­blem de­not­ing its build num­ber.

UK pric­ing has yet to be set but the R8 V10 RWS Coupé is likely to be about £130k and the Spy­der around £140k.

R8 V10 RWS will be a lim­ited-run coupé and cabrio

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