Rear wheel monsters
Audi Sport has confirmed the new R8 V10 RWD Coupé and Spyder for production.
From a limited edition to permanent member of the Audi R8 family, the R8 V10 RWD Coupé and Spyder is thrilling news for performance enthusiasts.
8 November, 2019
Christmas has come early for performance purists with the announcement that the R8 V10 RWD Coupé and Spyder will join the Audi Sport family as permanent models. Following the introduction of the limited edition Audi R8 RWS (Rear Wheel Series) early last year, such was the response by those more attracted to the characteristics of rear-wheel drive, that Audi Sport decided to add a rear-wheel drive model permanently.
In addition, a new R8 LMS GT4 car has also been unveiled for those not happy to confine their rear-wheel activities to the road, but instead hanker to compete. This is the second generation of the R8 GT4 model, which is also rear-wheel drive and raced in championships around the world.
The Audi R8 RWS was Audi’s first rear-wheel drive production car, which was quite a departure for a brand so well known for introducing the game-changing quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The advent of a limited edition (just 999 cars) rear-wheel drive supercar may have seemed an interesting choice when the R8 RWS first appeared, but passion is as important to Audi as technology, so to produce a car like the R8 RWS made perfect sense. It likewise made sense to purists and motoring aficionados around the world, and the permanent inclusion of these rear-wheel drive supercars will have tremendous appeal in the performance world.
The Audi R8 RWS was Audi’s first rear-wheel drive production car
For those looking to spot the subtle differences in models though, the sideblades are perhaps the biggest giveaway
The R8 V10 RWD models are built largely by hand at the ‘Böllinger Höfe facility in Neckarsulm, and like all R8 models, feature an Audi Space Frame (ASF) body made of aluminium and large parts of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP). They are immediately recognisable as part of the R8 family and will sport the same styling as the other models in the R8 range that will arrive Down Under in mid-2020. The wider Singeframe grille and air intakes dominate the front end, while the diffuser, which is flanked by two oval tailpipes, has moved further upward. In the engine compartment which houses the 5.2-litre normally aspirated V10, the air filter is situated under a new cover, which is available in a choice of plastic or carbon-fibre.
For those looking to spot the subtle differences in models though, the sideblades are perhaps the biggest giveaway, with the top blade designed in glossy mythos black, and the bottom blade painted in the colour of the vehicle. The front blade, the side sill inserts and the diffuser are painted in gloss black as standard.
The carbon styling package and, for the Spyder, an extended black styling package are available as an alternative. Kemora grey has been added to the colour chart. As an option, the Audi rings and logo are painted in high-gloss black. Inside the cockpit, the driver and passenger sit in sport seats covered in leather and Alcantara and the only identifying badging other than the familiar R8 and V10 badges on the exterior, is the ‘RWD’ logo which adorns the dash in front of the passenger.
The centrepiece of the Audi R8 V10 RWD models is of course the glorious 5.2 FSI engine, producing 397kW and 540Nm, all hoping down to the ‘business end’ via a seven-speed S tronic and a mechanical locking differential.
For the Coupé version, that translates to a 3.7 second sprint from 0 to 100km/h, while the Spyder, thanks to its slightly heavier weight, is just 0.8 seconds behind.
Top speed is a healthy 318km/h, but it’s not just about top speeds where this car is concerned, it’s as much about the driving dynamics and the ‘feel’ of the car.
With sport mode activated in connection with the Electronic Stabilisation Control ESC, the suspension setup and control system allow controlled drifting, giving you the chance to ‘smoke up’ those big black 19-inch forged wheels shod in 295/35 on the rear (245/35 up front) to your heart’s content. You can also opt for 20-inch wheels and sport tyres, but that rear-wheel dynamics remains.
The axle load distribution is 40:60 and absence of quattro all-wheel drive also means that both RWD models are lighter than their all-paw contemporaries. The Coupé for example, sans driver, tips the scales at just 1595kg – around 65kg lighter than the R8 quattro model. Likewise, the unladen Spyder RWD is 55kg lighter than its quattro counterpart.
Given the reception the very limited R8 RWS received when it arrived Down Under, the new Audi R8 V10 RWD models will be welcomed by Australia’s performance community when they touch down around the middle of next year.
The absence of quattro all-wheel drive also means that both RWD models are lighter than their all-paw contemporaries
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