Say you’re a wealthy sports car enthusiast, and you love the idea of a rear-wheel drive, mid-engine sports car, but you don’t want to deal with the hassle or expense of buying something like a Ferrari or the quality concerns of something like a Lotus. Previously, if you were lucky, you were able to snag yourself , but those days came and went.
Except maybe they didn’t. Audi announced on Thursday that not only was the rear-wheel drive version of the R8 (both Coupe and Spyder) coming back, but that it would no longer be a limited model. It’s now part of the regular R8 lineup, and that’s pretty damned cool.
The Audi R8 RWD is powered by a sweet, high-revving V10 that produces 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, but those numbers go up to 602 and 413, respectively, if you get the. This engine is mated exclusively to a dual-clutch transmission that is able to snap off shifts in just 120 milliseconds, and together they help the R8 RWD get to 60 miles per hour in only 3.6 seconds (3.7 if you’re in the Spyder).
The RWD version’s side benefit is that because it lacks things like front and center differentials and extra driveshafts, it’s a fair bit lighter than the standard Quattro version. This means it’s a little sharper and a little more playful on a twisty road — both of which are good things.
Oh, and it’s also cheaper — like a lot cheaper. The RWD coupe starts at just $145,895, including the $1,495 destination fee and $1,700 gas guzzler tax. The Spyder starts at $158,095. Both will be available in dealers starting in the winter of 2020.