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The Audi R8 Is Finally Rear-Wheel Drive

AWD has been Audi’s signature dish since time immemorial. They put Quattro badges on nearly all their cars, so they’re obviously proud of it. And the R8 was long a proponent of good ol’ mechanical AWD as many hybrids began to use electric motors to do the job, like the BMW i8 and Porsche 918. Apparently, though, Audi recognized the market needed a RWD, V10 car to fill the void in our hearts left by the Dodge Viper, and here it is: the R8 RWS.

RWS stands for Rear Wheel Series, as the car is now fully rear-wheel drive; this should provide some noticeable handling gains over the regular RS, and to avoid overpowering the rear wheels with too much power, the RWS is based on the standard R8 instead of the V10 Plus. It’s lighter, too: the Coupe saves about 110 lbs over the regular car, the Spyder saving about 88. The 5.2L V10 in the RWS punts out 533bhp, 0-60 in just under 4 seconds, and a top speed just under 200mph.

That’s my favorite thing about the RWS, actually; it’s not too nuts. It has a reasonable amount of power, a fairly standard 0-60 time and top speed; it’s instead about how the car handles, and we’ve established that even constrained by AWD, Audi can make the R8 drive pretty darn well. The RWS will likely become a bit of a collector darling, in the vein of the Porsche 911R – it also helps that it’s now one of an absolutely tiny handful of V10 cars in production, much less those with RWD; the only other one with any degree of popularity is, I believe, the Lamborghini Huracan 580-2, since the Viper is now out of production.

Move quickly if the RWS is attractive to you, and you have a lot of zeroes in your account balance (before the decimal point). It’s not ruinously expensive by supercar standards, starting at 140,000 Euros – you’ll pay much more than that for a loaded S-Class Coupe, which has two more cylinders and a lot more weight. The kicker is that Audi will only make 999 of them, including the Coupe and Spyder. But when you’ve got graphics like that, who cares?

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