All-wheel drive might be faster, but it can't move like this.

Last September, Audi told us about a new special edition R8 curiously called the RWS. The acronym stands for Rear Wheel Series, which is a rather snazzy way to say this is one Audi that doesn’t boast about its Quattro all-wheel drive system. That’s because it doesn’t have one – the R8 RWS sends all its 540 horsepower (403 kilowatts) to just the rear wheels. In theory it sounds like a recipe for opposite-lock fun, and YouTuber Shmee150 took it upon himself to verify that theory with some hot laps (literally and figuratively) at the Dubai Autodrome.


Audi R8 RWS At The Dubai Autodrome
Audi R8 RWS At The Dubai Autodrome

Nixing the all-wheel drive system cuts 110 pounds (50 kilograms) from the coupe, but on paper the RWS version is actually a touch slower than the standard R8, reaching 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.7 seconds. Top speed is also identical, so in the bench racing world there seems to be no reason at all to trade the all-wheel drive grip for less weight. That’s where Shmee150 comes in with a close look and through track thrashing to show there’s much more to a car than numbers on a page.

Gallery: Audi R8 RWS At Dubai Autodrome

Right off the bat, he notes the front end feels lighter and a touch sharper. Without running gear sending power to the wheels, they’re free to simply turn and bite the tarmac while the rear shuffles around with what looks like very controllable oversteer. Of course, being mid-engined with that kind of horsepower still requires a deft hand and plenty of concentration to keep things pointed in the right direction, but the video is very clear about one thing – the Audi R8 RWS loves to get sideways.

Acceleration numbers might be a bit slower, but now we’re very curious to see some comparable lap times with a Quattro model. In skilled hands, we can see this car getting around a track quicker than its all-wheel drive counterpart. Only 999 are slated for production, however, so a straight-up comparison might be a long time coming, if ever.

Source: Shmee150 via YouTube

Gallery: Audi R8 V10 RWS

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