Rumors for an entry-level Audi R8 supercar are still not dead, but the cheapest R8 money can buy today is still the RWS, or the Rear Wheel Series. It is available with a starting price of $138,700 and is significantly cheaper than the R8 V10 Plus with an MSRP of $195,650 in the United States. So, is this actually the best-valued R8 on sale? Totally.
The RWS is a classic case of an automaker listening to the customer. Audi will be making about 320 examples of it for the American market (from a total of 999 planned worldwide in both Coupe and Spyder flavors), and one of them has visited Jay Leno’s Garage for a short drive.
The formula of this supercar is made to extract the purest driving experience from the machine. It combines one of the few remaining naturally-aspirated engines, a 5.2-liter FSI with 540 horsepower (397 kilowatts) and 540 Newton-meters (398 pound-feet) mounted in the middle of the chassis, and a traditional RWD layout.
Compared to the V10 AWD variant, the RWS is 50 kilograms (110 pounds) lighter, and is, you know, significantly tail-happier. The sprint to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) takes just 3.7 seconds, while the top speed is 199 mph (320 kph).
In his review, Leno agrees with Anthony Garbis, product manager for the Audi R8, that the R8s, and especially the 320 RWS models in the U.S., are going to be collectibles one day, because of their simplicity and pure driving pleasure – no hybrid, no turbo, no gadgets.
And there’s one more thing. The R8 RWS is a supercar you can drive virtually every day. As Leno points out, the interior is super cool, featuring nice design and high-quality materials, while the exterior is simple and clean. “It’s very much Audi in general,” as Garbis adds.
Source: Jay Leno's Garage on YouTube