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Race-bred Audi R8 goes rear-wheel-drive

First RWD R8 inspired by Le Mans race winners.

A new Audi R8 model has been unveiled on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show, taking the brand into rear-wheel-drive territory for the first time.

Produced by the Audi Sport GmbH competition division, the R8 V10 RWS and R8 Spyder V10 RWS are based on Audi’s R8 LMS Le Mans racing cars. Dealers start taking orders on Friday 15 September, at prices from £110,000, and only 999 will be made.

The same 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine of the R8 quattro model is used, with 540hp on tap alongside 540Nm of torque. Audi quotes a 3.7-second 0-62mph time for Coupe versions, a tenth slower for the open-top Spyder, and a top speed of 198mph.

Weight saving

These acceleration figures are two-tenths slower than the quattro version, despite the RWS models not needing a front propshaft, multi-plate clutch and centre differential and as a result weighing 50kg less in coupe form (Spyder 40kg).

Audi has applied subtle styling touches to differentiate the RWS from other R8 models. Principally these consist of matt black finishes on the grille and the air intakes, and a gloss black upper side blade on coupe versions. A red film stripe running over the entire car from front to back is available as an option.

Audi Sport GmbH CEO Stephan Winkelmann describes the R8 V10 RWS as a car made for purists. “A limited-edition special model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment, the R8 V10 RWS is an absolutely exclusive offer,” he says. “With its mid-mounted V10 engine and rear-wheel drive, it successfully brings the driving concept of our R8 LMS racing car to the streets.”

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Executivecondominium. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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