Is the Audi R8 about to go rear-wheel drive?

Isaac Cain
September 11, 2017

Audi is only teasing them for now - one is a coupe-SUV based on the E-Tron Sportback concept seen this year at Auto Shanghai, the other is a D segment vehicle - and both are of course zero emissions full electrics. There's also a Spider that's 40kg lighter than the four-wheel drive vehicle.

That's right - for the first time ever, Audi will now sell you a street version of the R8 that only sends power to the back axle.

Regardless, Audi says that the rear-wheel-drive newcomer is capable of 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds - two tenths slower than the standard four-wheel-drive R8 - with a top speed of 199mph.

While this isn't a new vehicle per se, the Audi R8 RWS you see here is new in one key regard: rather than being fitted with the quattro four-wheel-drive system found in all previous road-going R8s - both the first-generation model and the current auto - the R8 RWS comes exclusively with rear-wheel drive. "A limited-edition special model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment, the R8 V10 RWS is an absolutely exclusive offer". 0 to 100 km/h will happen in 3.7 seconds with the Spyder taking 0.1 seconds longer.

Amusingly, Audi has given us different fuel economy figures for the latter depending on whether you're driving top up or top down; rest assured you won't see those figures in the real world anyway, so let's skip that particular nugget.

Audi Elaine Concept

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Naturally, Audi have put some work into the chassis. For instance, an altered traction control system boasts "Dynamic" and Sport' settings created with controlled drifts in mind.

How do I tell an Audi R8 RWS from the regular version? This is, basically, a more affordable and slightly detuned Lamborghini Huracan 580-2, after all. The ESC intervenes reliably at the limit'. Audi will also apply an optional red racing stripe to the R8 RWS if you want. Both body styles also have black 5-spoke 19-inch wheels, with 245/35 tires up front and 295/35s at the rear. Inside, the driver and passenger get sport seats covered in leather and Alcantara.

The R8 RWS will go on sale in Europe imminently and is priced from €140,000, which is €26,000 less than the R8 quattro costs in Germany.

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