Rear-Wheel Drive Audi R8 RWS Takes Aim at the Purists

The rear-wheel drive Audi R8 RWS has landed, offering an R8 model variant that takes aim at the purist focused on performance driving. 

The R8 RWS is powered by the same 540 horsepower, 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 as the standard R8. It’s able to do a bit more with the venerable ten-cylinder, however, weighing in at just 3,505 lbs – a full 110 lbs less than the AWD R8. There will also be a Spyder version, which weighs 40 lbs less than the AWD R8 Spyder. Audi claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.7 seconds (3.8 seconds for the Spyder) and a top speed of 198 mph.

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Audi is also boasting of the R8 RWS’ ability to perform smoky, controlled drifts. If the stability control system is set to ‘Sport’ and the drive mode is set to ‘Dynamic’, the ESC will come on only when needed to help hold the drift angle. It seems Audi is a bit less concerned with grip these days than in year’s prior.

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Setting the R8 RWS apart from the standard R8 are gloss-black 19-inch wheels, a matte black grille and matte black front and rear air vents. Additionally, the upper side blade of Coupe versions will be finished black, while the lower will be finished in in the body color. A red Audi Sport vinyl decal (pictured) is available as an option, as are sport bucket seats. Full leather sport seats with Alcantara sections are standard.

“The R8 V10 RWS is made for purists,” said Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winkelmann. “A limited-edition special model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment, the R8 V10 RWS is an absolutely exclusive offer. 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.”

The R8 RWS and RWS Spyder will be limited to just 999 units each. Audi says the pair will go on sale in Germany and other European markets this fall, with the first deliveries commencing on early 2018. Pricing for the Coupe starts at 140,000 euros (about $167,000 USD), while the Spyder will command 153,000 euros ( about $183,000 USD).

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