Move over M4, this is the German drift car you really want.
By announcing that the quattro badge was no longer something every Audi had to cling to as a celebration of its history and as the holy grail of its brand philosophy, the German automaker has finally freed up some of its most desirable models for more fun. And now, after teasing a rear-wheel drive R8 to the masses right before the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi has gone ahead and debuted a highly limited version of that very car to test the rear-wheel drive waters and, if all goes well, dive into that pond headfirst.
The R8 V10 RWS is a 999 unit-strong special edition of the Four Rings’ mid-engine supercar and comes in both Coupe and Spyder variants. With the 5.2-liter naturally-aspirated V10 wasting less of its 540 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque budget on all-wheel drive drivetrain losses, the supercar can now spend more time doing what supercars should do best: drifting. Unfortunately the loss of front-wheel power means that acceleration from 0-60 mph is up to 3.7 seconds in the hardtop and 3.8 seconds for the Spyder (quattro-equipped models do it in 3.1 seconds 3.3 seconds respectively). Since Audi engineers gutted some heavy all-wheel drive hardware out of the R8, the coupe model weighs 110 pounds less than its AWD equivalent.
Even the traditionally heavy Spyder gets a 88 pound weight cut. With that weight cut having its greatest effect over the front axle where portly mass causes fun-killing understeer, this R8 is meant for nothing but fun. Audi wasn’t content with just cutting power to the front and calling it good. As such, it retuned the chassis control system to allow newbies to perform controlled drifts with the help of the car’s computers. As if that wasn't enough, Audi was sure to round off the package with black-finished 19-inch cast aluminum wheels arranged in a five-spoke V-design. Americans, avert your eyes because this baby is only available in Europe beginning in Fall of 2017 starting at €140,000 for the coupe and €153,000 for the Spyder.