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2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 9/11/2017 JENS MEINERS

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS 2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS - Official Photos and Info In November 2016, Audi’s performance division decided to change its name from Quattro GmbH to Audi Sport. We wondered why, but this Audi R8 V10 RWS is among the possible reasons, as the performance division’s latest model is not a Quattro. You might guess from the name that it has rear-wheel steering, but RWS supposedly means Rear Wheel Series, suggesting we might see other high-performance Audis that send torque only to their rear wheels. Otherwise, this would be a “series” of one.

Regardless, this is certainly the most purist-oriented second-generation R8. Planned for a run of just 999 units, it packs 540 horsepower. That power—which matches that of the base R8 V10 Quattro but is shy of the 610 horsepower of the R8 V10 Plus—is churned out by the awesome, naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-10. No all-wheel drive means both less weight and less mechanical drag in the powertrain. Compared with the regular all-wheel-drive R8, its curb weight is down by 110 pounds to 3505 pounds, according to Audi, while the company’s claimed weight for the Spyder version is 3704 pounds, down 88 from the Quattro model. (On our scales, the current-generation all-wheel-drive R8 coupe most recently weighed in at 3684 pounds; the Spyder weighed 3920 pounds.)

Visually, the R8 RWS is signified by a matte-black grille, matte-black front and rear airflow openings, and a gloss-black upper side blade on the coupe. A red vinyl trim stripe that stretches from the front left to the right rear is optional on the coupe. Sport seats are standard, as are black 19-inch wheels wrapped in 35-series rubber.

2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS© JENS MEINERS 2018 Audi R8 V10 RWS

Audi says the sprint to 62 mph takes 3.7 seconds (3.8 in the Spyder), and top speed is claimed to be 199 mph on the coupe and 198 mph on the Spyder. That acceleration time lags behind Audi’s claims for the Quattro-equipped R8 by 0.2 second in both cases; top speed is unchanged.

As awesome as this RWS version is, we think there’s still room for improvement—at least from a purist’s point of view. Audi easily could shave off another 50 pounds or so by swapping out the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and replacing it with the delightful and beautiful gated six-speed manual that was available on the last-generation R8. If Porsche got the hint about what purists want with the 911 GT3, surely Audi could do the same here.

That quibble aside, we suspect the 999 cars will sell out quickly, not least of all because they will be less expensive than an R8 V10 Quattro (by about $31,000 in Germany). An Audi spokesperson says “small quantities” will come to the United States in 2018, although U.S. pricing is currently unavailable.

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