The rear-wheel driven R8 always felt like Audi’s unwanted child – as if Audi only made it because fans demanded one, and because it doesn’t have the marque’s signature Quattro all-wheel drive system, Audi is punishing it by giving it less power.
Well, not any more, because the German carmaker has finally updated the RWD Audi R8 with more power on par with its other Quattro-equipped brothers, and with that, also christened it with a new name more in line with its siblings. Welcome to the family, Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD.
The 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10 (that’s also shared with the Lamborghini Huracán) remains from before, but is uprated to now produce 570 hp and 550 Nm of torque – 30 hp and 10 Nm more than its predecessor. As before, the engine is mated to a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential.
With the newfound performance, the RWD Audi R8 can now do the century sprint in 3.7 seconds, onward to a top speed of 329 km/h (3.8 seconds and 327 km/h on the Spyder).
On top of the upgraded engine, the new Audi R8 Performance RWD gains a reworked ESC software that allows “controlled drifts” in the ESC Sport drive mode, while the double-wishbone suspensions also receives specific tuning to suit the driving characteristics of the rear-wheel driven R8.
The R8 Performance RWD Coupé weighs 1,590 kg with a 40:60 weight distribution between the axles, which is 65 kg lighter than the AWD variant. The Spyder meanwhile is a bit heavier at 1,695 kg (55 kg lighter than the AWD variant).
As usual on an Audi, options here are aplenty – there’s an optional dynamic steering system that supposedly “provides even more precise reaction and feedback” in corners while making low-speed manoeuvres easier, better ceramic brakes, bigger wheels, and a whole swath of aesthetic options.
On a standard car, you’ll get items such as 19-inch twin-spoke forged wheels, Nappa leather sports seats, a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital display for the digital instrument cluster, and body-coloured side blades – the latter is largely how you differentiate the RWD from the AWD models, but you’ll be better off looking for the RWD badge on the dashboard to tell them apart.
The new Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD will be mostly hand-built at the “Böllinger Höfe” plant in Neckarsulm, Germany, where Audi also builds its LMS GT4 race car (which supposedly shares up to 60% of its parts with the production-model R8).
Pricing in Germany starts at €149,000 (approx. RM721k) for the Coupé, and €162,000 (approx. RM784k) for the Spyder.