Is the Audi R8 V10 RWD now more fun than the quattro?

The sparrows have been whistling it from the rooftops for a long time: the days of the R8 are numbered. At least as a hot-blooded combustion engine, because the successor to the great athlete is supposed to drive electrically. Before the V10 bolide rumbles into the eternal hunting grounds with a powerful final chord next year, Audi has once again streamlined its R8 model range.

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After the V8 derivatives had already been eliminated, the R8 is now only available in the performance version: as an all-wheel drive vehicle with 610 hp and as an RWD – the rear-wheel drive vehicle that has been strengthened by 30 hp and 10 Nm to 570 hp and 550 Nm. Both as a coupe and as a Spyder.
Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD

It bubbles, pops, rumbles or trumpets: the V10 naturally aspirated engine accompanies every load condition with its own sound. And turns without mercy with such devotion.

The rear-wheel drive vehicle is inferior to the quattro in terms of longitudinal and lateral dynamics, but scores with two other advantages: the driving fun factor is boosted by a drive-free front axle and the more agile rear. And the wallet will be happy about a saving of 59,000 euros because of the missing quattro technology! Yes, fifty-nine thousand.

149,000 euros base price

The sun is still very low when we do the first six laps on the narrow Circuito Maspalomas airfield course on Gran Canaria in the tango red matt Audi R8 Coupé V10 performance RWD. The instructor shows braking and steering points, after three laps you know your way around and switch to ESC sport mode by clicking the checkered flag knob on the steering wheel to experience the new ease of reduced drive.
Compared to the base for 149,000 euros, our R8-RWD is equipped with a few options: dynamic steering (1400 euros), performance sports suspension with CFRP anti-roll bars (1100 euros), ceramic brakes (9400 euros) and semi-slicks from Michelin (Pilot Sport Cup 2) as extras.
Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD

Well proportioned for the posing appearance for which it is too good: the R8 shows refinement and class in terms of driving dynamics.

Equipped in this way, a familiarity soon sets in, because the rear-wheel drive R8 is basically a very confidence-inspiring athlete without any problems – as long as you don’t overdo it. The variable ratio of the dynamic steering is very well implemented, the steering feel always feels right, the spread between ease of movement and small steering angles in tight bends and the tightness at high speeds is in no way irritating.

On the contrary: also because of the lack of front drive, the RWD turns in almost snappy and shows no understeering at the right input speed. In contrast to the quattro, which pulls out of the curve as if on rails when accelerating from the apex, the RWD puts on a slight rear wiper, the intensity of which can be increased to a full-blown drift.

Audi R8 not only phenomenal in terms of sound

In the four-wheel drive you have to help out with preparatory work, which requires a certain brutality and a skilled hand on a dry road so that the transverse gear does not end up in the gravel bed. Here, a drift is just a fun step on the gas, caught by the sports ESP in an emergency.

I can only feel the 30 more hp compared to the RWD predecessor with 540 horses in a direct comparison. In numbers, the current RWD Performance accelerates a tenth of a second faster to 100 km/h. But it’s a gift, because you can’t resist the appearance of the grandiose V10. As a pure suction engine, the 5.2-liter engine appreciates higher speeds, but what it delivers from 3500 to 4000 tours is not only phenomenal in terms of sound.
Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD

Tidy: cockpit with intuitive operation without a touchscreen, best workmanship, beautiful materials.

When cornering at high speed, I have to be careful not to rush into the limiter when accelerating out, because it feels like it only takes two blinks of an eye to reach the limiting 8500 tours, the tens are so vehement.

To cool down, take the Spyder into the hinterland. Incidentally, it costs 13,000 euros more than the coupé.

Specifications and price: Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD 5.2 FSI

Engine: V10, center rear longitudinal
Displacement: 5204cc
Performance: 419 kW (570 hp) at 8000 rpm
Max. Torque: 550 Nm at 6400 rpm
Drive: Rear wheel/7-speed DCT
L/W/H: 4429/1940/1236mm
curb weight: 1590kg
trunk: 112L
0-100km/h: 3.7s
Top: 329km/h
Consumption: 12.9L SP
Exhaust gas CO2: 295g/km
Price: from 149,000 euros

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