Look! It’s a brand-new Audi R8 V10! Meet the ‘performance RWD’ | Top Gear
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Look! It’s a brand-new Audi R8 V10! Meet the ‘performance RWD’

All rear-drive R8s are now ‘performance’ R8s, with more power and torque

Published: 07 Oct 2021
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Audi has quietly announced an upgrade to the loudest car it makes. Today, friends, we welcome a brand new R8 into the fold.

Yes, a new R8 – remember them? With all the noise surrounding its fully-electric e-tron range, it’s easy to forget Audi still makes a naturally-aspirated, fire-spitting mid-engined V10 supercar... that itself makes a really, really good noise.

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So, this new R8 is a rear-wheel-drive R8, and is unsurprisingly called the Audi R8 V10 performance RWD. Long name, short story: it replaces the entry-level car, bringing more power and inspiration from the wild LMS GT4 racer with it. Indeed, all R8s are now ‘performance’ R8s, available with rear- or four-wheel-drive (something called ‘quattro’, apparently).

All clear? Good. The 5.2-litre nat-asp V10 is present and correct, here producing 562bhp – versus the old car’s 533bhp – and 406lb ft of torque (again, an increase on the old entry-level car). We’re not told exactly how this additional power and torque was created but we’re imagining Audi just turned its Spinal Tap knob to 11.

It’s matched as before to a seven-speed S tronic gearbox and a mechanical limited slip differential, Audi claiming a 0-62mph time of 3.7s for the Coupe, and 3.8s for the Spyder. Top speed sits at 204mph (or 203mph if you’re in the drop-top). Plenty fast enough.

We’re told this performance RWD car will allow for “controlled drifts”, gets a bespoke suspension tune and dynamic steering available for the first time. It’s built in the same factory as Audi’s LMS GT4 R8, and Audi tells us 60 per cent of the parts on that racer were carried over from the road car.

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Rather more obvious nods to this symbiosis include the radiator grille, large air intakes, front splitter, rear air outlet and the tailpipes. The bonnet ‘slit’ is said to evoke the old Audi Sport quattro, and you can choose from ten different paint options. Inside, it’s business as normal, which is to say: a really good, well-finished layout. Audi’s virtual cockpit featuring a 12.3in screen is the standout feature, as are bucket seats and the all-important ‘RWD’ badge.

You can still option it up to the hilt if you so wish – 20in wheels, better leather, a better stereo, better brakes and so on – but prices start at £126,885 for the – deep breath – R8 V10 performance RWD Coupe, and £135,575 for the performance RWD Spyder.

“The Audi R8 V10 RWD really struck a chord with customers right from the start,” explains Audi Sport MD Sebastian Grams. “Now it has 30PS and 10Nm more, taking the driving experience to a whole new level.”

The old RWD car was a good 'un - click here to read the TopGear.com verdict.

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