Ballsy. The only word that comes to my mind to describe Audi at the moment. 2019 has been quite dynamic for the brand with four rings. From displaying concepts where drones have replaced headlights to announcing the axing of the TT, Audi has gone through significant changes in just this one year. And now, after having the slimmest of hopes for a company to bring out something for the enthusiasts, look who shows up.
To much delight for purists, Audi has released its flagship sports car, the R8 in RWD or rear-wheel-drive guise. The last time this happened, the carmaker had named it RWS or rear-wheel-series with production limited to just 999 units. Fortunately for us, Audi hasn’t gone down the same road again, and now, this RWD will soon be a regular model in the R8’s production line-up. Chills!
Available in both Coupe and Spyder forms, the R8 RWD continues to press on with the quintessential naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine. Power output for this FSI unit is restricted to 532hp and 540Nm of torques. When compared to its all-wheel-drive sibling, the RWD is low on power by a narrow margin of 30hp, but that doesn’t stop it from cracking the ton in just 3.7 seconds while topping out at 320kph or 198mph. Its roofless lookalike takes an additional tenth of a second while losing out breadth at 318kph.
Even though this iteration drives only two wheels, the RWD is just half a second slower to hundred than its quattro cousin. One of the primary reasons for it being - diet. Audi took this RWD to the gym as this variant sees the omission of the propeller shaft, the quattro multi-plate clutches and front axle differential to save a total of 65 kilos in coupe guise and 55 when tucking the roof down.
In terms of styling, Audi has given this RWD certain distinctive touches. The iconic side blades, for instance, now feature a dual-tone paint scheme. For RWD only, the top half will be blacked out while the lower half will be painted in body colour. Other components receiving the blacked-out treatment include the front blade, the side sill inserts and the diffuser.
Personalisation options for the R8 RWD extend to let you have Kemora grey, a new paint scheme and the Audi rings and logo to be painted in black. Customers choosing the Spyder can further opt for the optional black styling package. The passengers will be wrapped in leather and Alcantara with the dashboard will have a little RWD badge, ahead of the co-driver.
As the need for components in an RWD is less, expect the asking price to be the same as well. And expectedly, this RWD costs EUR 144,000 (approx $1,60,000) for the Coupe and EUR 157,000 (approx $1,74,000) for its drop-top iteration. While the prices mentioned above will be functional only in Germany, this seems to about EUR 22,000 less than the quattro derivatives, making this the cheapest R8 on sale. How great is that! Moreover, Audi has confirmed the introduction of the R8 RWD on the European markets by the beginning of 2020. Even better!