2021 Audi R8 RWD Arrives With Ultra-Rare Panther Edition

Special Editions / Comments

With exclusive Panther Black crystal effect paint.

A few years ago, Audi offered an extremely rare rear-wheel-drive version of the R8 in the United States. Only 999 arrived stateside, but now, the RWD R8 is back and better than before. The Audi R8 RWD is now a permanent fixture in the lineup and, for 2021, it will be available with a rarified Panther edition. The 2021 R8 Panther edition is exclusive to the US market, and only 30 examples will be built in total.

Audi will produce the 30 Panther editions as the first RWD R8 units available in the US. Each will come with unique trim details, including 20-inch black/red milled wheels and red accents. The car also includes Audi exclusive Panther Black crystal effect paint and a full Audi exclusive interior.

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Behind the driver sits a 5.2-liter V10 engine producing 532 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. Those outputs are sent exclusively to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, resulting in a 3.6-second 0-60 mph time on its way to a 201-mph top speed. Audi says it made alterations to the R8's chassis to adapt for RWD, including solid rear axles as opposed to hollow ones, a stiffer front anti-roll bar, and an increase in rear negative camber.

With the front wheels unencumbered by drive and able to focus solely on steering the supercar, Audi says the front end is free from torquesteer and that the electromechanical power steering promotes precise handling and driver feedback. The R8 RWD also features multiple drive modes including "dynamic" mode and "sport" mode, reducing the amount of intervention from the ESC system to maximize on the RWD experience.

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The Panther edition brings some special content, including a full black leather interior with Crimson red stitching, racing shell seats in Crimson red Nappa leather, a sports exhaust, Alcantara steering wheel and parcel shelf, a diamond-stitched Alcantara headliner, a red 12 o'clock marker on the steering wheel, and exclusive R8 embroidered floor mats.

The R8 joins the 2019 RS5 Panther edition, which was limited to just 100 units in the US and included the same Panther Black crystal effect paint and red interior. Audi says only select dealers will receive the R8 Panther Edition, starting this December. Anyone who wants to nab one of the 30 examples will need to shell out $183,300, which is significantly more expensive than the base R8 RWD Coupe ($142,700), but far cheaper than last year's R8 Green Hell Edition.

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