Set to be replaced either next year or in 2023 as contradicting reports have seemingly died down, Audi has reintroduced the rear-wheel-drive version of the now updated R8 some two years after making it a permanent model in place of the limited-run Rear-Wheel-Series (RWS).
Aside from losing its siblings front wheel traction, the newcomer also adopts the Performance moniker and therefore slots in below the quattro as the most affordable R8 following the axing of the entry-level all-paw gripping model some three years ago.
Appearing almost identical to the quattro aesthetically, the RWD’s main difference, apart from its defining moniker, is a model specific suspension system as well as a recalibrated Electronic Stability Control system that allows for drifting when in sport mode.
In addition, the RWD boasts a mechanically locking rear differential, revised electro-mechanical power steering and model bespoke 19-inch alloy wheels with the option of upgrading to stickier 20-inch Cup wheels.
Stopping power comes courtesy of an 18-inch braking system with buyers having the added option of the top-spec 19-inch setup, complete with carbon ceramic stoppers.
Tipping the scales at 1 590 kg or 1 695 kg in Spyder form, the RWD’s interior builds on that of the quattro, but is distinguished by the RWD emblem on the passenger’s side, leather or Alcantara as opposed to Nappa leather sport seats, carbon fibre inlays and Mercato Blue stitching.
Offered for the first time in Ascari Blue, a colour previously reserved for the quattro, the R8 RWD also comes with more power than before in that the 5.2-litre normally aspirated V10 now produces 419kW/550Nm, a jump of 22kW/10Nm.
Paired once again to a seven-speed S tronic gearbox, the RWD, despite being less powerful but more torquey than the quattro, will get from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds or 3.8 seconds in the case of the Spyder, with respective top speeds of 329 km/h and 327 km/h.
Going on sale in Europe soon with order books set to open on 21 October, the R8 Performance RWD will carry a sticker price, in Germany, of €149 000 (R2 581 091) for the coupe and €162 000 (R2 806 287) for the Spyder before the addition of any optional extras.
For now, no plans are in place to bring the RWD to South Africa to supplement the quattro introduced in January.