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Rear-wheel drive Audi R8 roars in

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Audi is bolstering its R8 sports car range with the limited-edition V10-powered R8 Rear Wheel Series.

Unlike every Audi R8 ever sold to customers for more than a decade now, this one is driven solely through the rear wheels, rather than all four wheels using Audi’s quattro system.

Despite the rearward bias in the drivetrain, performance off the line and beyond remains rapid, with the 0-62mph sprint being dispatched in just 3.7 seconds (Spyder: 3.8 seconds) and the pace remaining furious until the maximum 198mph (Spyder: 197mph).

The mid-mounted V10 engine, which is now one of the last naturally-aspirated powerplants in the segment, produces 540hp and peak torque of 540 Nm at 6,500 rpm.

Combined fuel economy in the R8 Coupé V10 RWS amounts to 22.8mpg, corresponding to 283 g/km of CO2. The R8 Spyder version is fractionally worse in both cases, but not enough to matter.

Visually, the new R8 variant is distinguished by a matte black grille and matte black air apertures at the front and rear of the car. The upper sideblade of the coupé is finished in gloss black, with the lower blade in body colour. Similar to the R8 LMS GT 4, a red Audi Sport decal running over the bonnet, roof and over the rear spoiler can be optionally applied to the coupé.

Inside, the driver and passenger sit in heated sports seats covered in leather and Alcantara, with fine nappa leather in black or grey also available as an option. As another visual identifier, the dashboard bears an emblem “1 of 999” indicating the limited number of units.

The Audi R8 V10 RWS is fitted as standard with black-finished, 19-inch cast aluminium wheels in a five-spoke V-design that are exclusive to the model, with 245/35 tyres up front and 295/35 at the rear. As an alternative, optional 20-inch forged aluminium alloy wheels in either matt titanium or gloss anthracite black are shod with 245/30 front tyres and 305/30 rears.

The overall specification mirrors that of the R8 V10 quattro, featuring all-LED headlights and LED rear lights with dynamic indicators as well as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, high-definition sound system, navigation system and a suite of infotainment services. Keyless entry & start, cruise control and the front and rear parking sensors complete the standard equipment package.

Further options such as laser headlights, a specially-developed Bang & Olufsen sound system, wireless charging and smartphone interface are also available.

Audi Sport also offers owners the opportunity for more personalisation, with a gloss carbon finish extending to the mirror housings, front spoiler lip and engine bay, while the Audi exclusive programme can also be comprehensively applied to various touchpoints on the interior to ensure that no two R8s are the same.

For the R8 Spyder RWS, the fully automated hood can be finished in black, red or brown, contrasting with the seven paint finishes, or even one of the 50 hues in the Audi exclusive palette.

With prices starting from £112,450 on-road for the coupé and £121,140 on-road for the Spyder, first deliveries of the rear-wheel drive models will start this week.

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Michael Dalton
Michael Daltonhttp://thevanexpert.co.uk
Michael graduated from university in 2016 with a degree in Human, Social, and Political Sciences. He is a former contributor to both The Car Expert and The Van Expert.