BY Marcus Lim

For the first time ever, the R8 gets a rear wheel-drive variant

Audi Sport GmbH is extending the R8 model series to include a new derivative with rear wheel-drive, named the Audi R8 V10 RWS. Available as a limited series of 999 units in both Coupé and Spyder variants, it will be built exclusively by hand at Audi’s Böllinger Höfe factory.

“The R8 V10 RWS is made for purists; a limited-edition special model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment,” says Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH. Indeed, as the R8 V10 RWS Coupé weighs 50 kg less than the regular all-wheel drive R8 V10 Coupé coupled together with chassis and handling tuning adapted for rear-wheel drive, provides for incredibly fun driving.

The electromechanical power steering system is completely free of torque steer, enabling precise handling. Controlled drifts are also possible — simply select ‘Dynamic’ mode in the Audi drive select system and select ‘Sport’ for the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) system.

The mid-mounted, 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 FSI engine produces 540 bhp and 540 Nm of torque, accelerating the car to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds (3.8 seconds for R8 V10 RWS Spyder) till its top speed of 320 km/h.

Exterior design is largely similar to the regular R8 V10, with several matte black design elements to differentiate it as a RWS model. The Audi Singleframe features a matte black grille, complementing the matte black air apertures at the front and rear of the car. Also in black are the sideblades, which are finished in gloss black for the upper section, and body colour for the lower section. Optional red film graphics run are also available, running over the front bonnet, roof and rear end of the car.

On the inside, the driver and passenger sit in sport seats covered in leather and Alcantara, with bucket seats available as an option. An emblem on the dashboard reads “1 of 999” reminding occupants of the car’s exclusivity.

The Audi R8 V10 RWS will be available for order in Europe early next month, with deliveries expecting to begin in early 2018.