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 coupe 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-wheel-drive 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 coupe 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 coupe has 324bhp per tonne. Despite the reduction in weight and a superior power-to-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 coupe 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 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.