Unlike its predecessor, the R8 V10 RWS, the new model is here to stay.

Back in September 2018, Audi said it would consider bringing back the not-a-Quattro version of its flagship sports car, and now they’re actually doing it by releasing another rear-wheel-drive derivative. This time around, it’s a permanent member of the R8 lineup and won’t be limited to 999 examples like its predecessor. The Four Rings are also changing the car’s name from RWS (Rear Wheel Series) to RWD (Rear Wheel Drive), which frankly makes more sense to us.

Needless to say, the new R8 RWD is based on the facelifted version of Audi’s naturally aspirated superstar and is being revealed today in both Coupe and Spyder forms. You can tell it’s the tail-happy version by looking at the iconic sideblades as the top one now comes painted in black while the bottom one is finished in the same hue as the rest of the body.

Gallery: 2020 Audi R8 RWD

As standard, the rear-wheel-drive R8 has the front blade, side sill inserts, and diffuser painted in glossy black, but you can optionally go for a carbon package. The droptop version can also be ordered with an extended black appearance pack, while the body can be painted in a fresh color dubbed “Kemora gray.” There will be multiple ways to customize the RWD, such as going for a glossy black look for Audi’s four rings and the model’s logo.

The new derivative tailored to purists uses Audi’s glorious 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10. The FSI unit pumps out 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet (540 Newton-meters) of torque to the rear axle through a seven-speed S tronic transmission and a mechanical locking differential. It’s worth pointing out the new version of the R8 is less powerful than the facelifted base R8 Coupe V10 Quattro, which offers 562 hp and 413 lb-ft (560 Nm). Doing the quick math, the RWD is down by 30 hp and 15 lb-ft (20 Nm) to perfectly match the RWS before it.

Nevertheless, the setup enables a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in just 3.7 seconds before hitting a top speed of 199 mph (320 km/h) in the case of the Coupe, while the Spyder due to its increased weight needs a tenth of a second more for the sprint and maxes out at 198 mph (318 km/h).

Losing the Quattro setup has paid dividends in terms of weight as the R8 V10 RWD is about 65 kilograms (143 pounds) lighter than the equivalent R8 V10 Quattro Coupe, at 1,595 kg (3,516 lbs) without the driver. The R8 V10 RWD Spyder has shaved off 55 kg (121 lbs) and now weighs 1,695 kg (3,737 lbs) after removing the propeller shaft, multi-plate clutches, and the front axle differential.

There’s another benefit to having the rear-wheel-drive model as it’s cheaper than its Quattro counterpart. Pricing has only been released for the German market where the Coupe starts off at €144,000 and the Spyder from €157,000, with both representing a €22,000 decrease than the equivalent Quattro models.

Audi will have the R8 V10 RWD on sale in Europe early next year.

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Even sharper and more striking:
The Audi R8 V10 RWD

  • The sports car with rear-wheel drive is now a fixed element of the portfolio
  • New exterior design analog to the revised R8 quattro versions for the series production model and racing car
  • 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 engine with 540 PS accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.7 seconds

From special series to standard range: The Audi R8 V10 with rear-wheel drive (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 13.1–12.9 (18.0–18.2 US mpg); combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 293–299 (471.5–481.2 g/mi)) is advancing to a permanent model. In this context, its exterior is being redesigned to make it even more striking: It will be fitted with the same new features as the R8 V10 quattro models**. The V10 mid-engine, which delivers 397 kW (540 PS) here, and the rear-wheel drive offer a puristic kind of driving pleasure. The near-production-level Audi R8 LMS GT4 racing car, which also features rear-wheel drive, is being released at the same time, with a new design and noticeable optimizations in terms of vehicle dynamics. The customer sport racing car for the international GT4 category will offer private drivers even more precise adjustment options in the future.