The Lamborghini Huracan has had a rear-wheel-drive version for more than two years with the launch of the LP 580-2 Coupe, but Audi decided to wait until September 2017 to show off its RWD R8. While the raging bull from Sant’Agata Bolognese is a regular production model (as regular as a Lamborghini can be…) the new R8 Rear Wheel Series will be strictly limited to 999 units and you can have one either as a Coupe or as a Spyder.
Signaling Audi Sport’s intentions towards doing more RWD cars, the latest iteration of Ingolstadt’s supercar is 110 pounds (50 kilograms) lighter in coupe form thanks to the removal of Quattro. With a mid-mounted V10 delivering 540 horsepower (397 kilowatts) to the rear wheels, it doesn’t get any better than this for purists. Well, maybe if it had a manual gearbox instead of the seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission, but the days of the manual R8 (and its beautiful gated shifter) are long gone.
Aside from removing the all-paw system, the engineers also spent some time tweaking the suspension, modifying the steering calibration, and installing a 10-percent stiffer front anti-roll bar. The dampers have also been mildly modified to better suit the car’s newly gained RWD identity. Getting rid of the Quattro system has also impacted the weight distribution, now at 41:59 front to rear compared to the 44:56 of the regular model.
The RWS won’t be the last iteration of the current-generation R8 as the four-ring company has plans to introduce a cheaper version of the supercar, one that will likely come with a biturbo 2.9-liter V6 as installed in the RS5 Coupe, RS4 Avant, and the forthcoming RS5 Sportback. Audi hasn’t said a word about when it will be launched, but we might get to see it later this year. With the risk of ruining your day, there's an ongoing rumor about the possible demise of the R8 in 2020.