The R8 RWS was Audi's first-ever rear-wheel drive car. It was such a success the brand has come back for more – and this time it's a proper production model.
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Audi has taken its limited-edition R8 RWS and turned it into a series production model, bringing rear-wheel drive action to (more of) the people.

The new R8 V10 RWD is powered by the same 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10 engine as the all-wheel drive coupe, outputting 397kW at 6500rpm and 540Nm. That's 59kW and 40Nm down on the range-topping R8 V10 Performance.

It's sent to the rear wheels (again, just the rear wheels) through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the rear axle is now home to a mechanical locking differential.

Audi says the 100km/h sprint takes 3.7 seconds, more than half a second slower than the full-fat all-wheel drive R8. But numbers aren't really the point here.

Because it's rear-wheel drive, the R8 V10 RWD will drift – or in Audi speak, "if sport mode is activated in connection with the Electronic Stabilisation Control ESC, the suspension setup and control system even allow controlled drifting".

If our experience of the RWS is a guide, keen drivers will be able to hang out the tail of the V10 RWD without too much trouble.

Without a front driveshaft, differential, and clever all-wheel drive clutches, the RWD is 55kg lighter than the heaviest all-wheel drive R8 V10 models.

Externally, you'll be able to differentiate the R8 RWD from its all-paw brethren by the two-tone side blades, which are finished in body colour down low and gloss black up top. Owners will also be able to option the Audi badge in gloss black, for a dash of stealthy goodness.

Inside, the standard interior carries over with a few choice upgrades: leather and Alcantara bucket seats, and RWD badges on the dash.

Australia

The Audi R8 RWD will be here with the updated wider R8 range in the middle of 2020.

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