Rear-Wheel-Drive Audi R8 Returns For 2021

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And this time it's not a limited-production model.

Back in 2018, Audi launched a surprise RWD version of the R8 sports car dubbed the R8 Rear Wheel Series for owners who enjoy driving everywhere sideways. Sadly, the fun didn't last for long because the R8 RWS was a limited production model. Only 999 units examples were built of the Coupe and Spyder RWS, and only 320 of these arrived in the US, making them a rare sight on the road. Happily, however, the RWD Audi R8 is making a comeback for 2021 - and this time it's a permanent member of the R8 family. Audi revealed the European version simply called the R8 V10 RWD last year, and now the US version has arrived.

Powering the R8 V10 RWD is a naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine that sends 532 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, enabling the RWD supercar to sprint from 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds in the Coupe and 3.7 seconds in the Spyder.

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Audi

The coupe will top out at 201 mph, while the Spyder will max out just one mph slower. By losing components such as the prop shaft, front axles, multi-plate clutch, and front differential, the R8 RWD weighs less than its all-wheel drive counterpart.

The chassis is also specially adapted for the RWD layout by using solid rear axles instead of a hollow one, along with a stiffer front anti-roll bar, and an increase in rear negative camber. Unique exterior design elements also distinguish the RWD model including a high-gloss front blade, side sill inserts, and rear diffuser, Mythos black sideblades, and chrome rear exhaust tips. An available carbon exterior package for the RWD variant also adds carbon fiber trim to the engine compartment and carbon sigma sideblades.

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Inside, the RWD model comes with 14-way power sport seats in Fine Nappa leather as standard. An available Premium package offers 18-way adjustable power seats with side and leg bolsters, an Alcantara headliner, a leather center console and door armrests, a 550 watt sound system with 13 speakers, and illuminated door sill inlays. Available interior design packages for the R8 RWD models include a carbon interior package adding carbon fiber high-gloss surrounds for the virtual cockpit and the air vents and a diamond stitch full leather package that applies diamond stitching to the Alcantara headliner and seats.

For 2021, Audi is also offering a new design package for the R8 V10 Performance that adds Mercato blue diamond contrast stitching to sports seats, which are finished in leather and Alcantara.

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Audi

The same contrast stitching is also applied to the included leather package, Alcantara steering wheel, and floor mats. Also included in the package is a shift lever finished in black Alcantara with a leather boot contrast stitched in Mercato blue. Blue ceramic brake calipers match the interior package.

Arriving in US dealers this winter, 2021 Audi R8 V10 RWD starts at $142,700 for the Coupe and $154,900 for the Spyder. The R8 V10 Performance Coupe will cost at least $196,700 and the Spyder will start at $208,900. All prices exclude the $1,495 destination charge.

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