We’re checking out the latest rear-driven RWD model
What is it?
The Audi R8 has been a mainstay on the supercar scene for a considerable time now. Recently updated, it’s fair to say that the R8 won’t be around for much longer, with rumours that an electric replacement is on the cards.
However, it’s still here for now, which is why Audi has applied a range of tweaks to its flagship performance model. Here, we’re checking out the latest rear-driven RWD model.
As before, there’s the option to have the R8 in either coupe or soft-top Spyder layouts, the former of which we’re looking at today. Both utilise a lightweight aluminium body, while the use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastics takes these weight-saving measures one step further.
The RWD is effectively the entry point to the R8 range, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in power. Plus, it gets a slightly more understated appearance compared with the full-fat quattro models, with the lack of a rear wing being one of the most noticeable changes between the two.
What’s under the bonnet?
As before, the latest RWD is centred around Audi’s famous 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10. One of the largest non-turbocharged performance engines still pushing along a production road car, it kicks out 562bhp - 30bhp more than before - alongside 550Nm of torque. This allows the R8 to manage the 0-60mph sprint in just 3.5 seconds before heading onwards to a 204mph top speed.
As you might expect, economy isn’t the R8 strong suit. Audi claims that you’ll get around 22.2mpg combined, while CO2 emissions stand at a chunky 291g/km.
What’s it like to drive?
Though this RWD version does lose out on some of the sure-footedness of the all-wheel-drive quattro version, it still feels remarkably planted. It feels lighter to drive, too, while easy controls mean that this supercar isn’t intimidating to drive whatsoever.
In fact, that remains one of the R8’s best traits. Despite looking quite formidable, it’s an absolute breeze to drive. Rearward visibility isn’t the best, of course, but this really is a car that would be just fine to drive every day.
How does it look?
The R8 RWD remains a great-looking car. It’s got spot-on proportions and some genuine presence, even without the huge wing of the Performance versions. Our test car came in a bright ‘Tango Red’ exterior colour with contrasting bronze-coloured alloy wheels which really looked the business.
But you’d be hard-pressed to distinguish this RWD version from the rest of the range visually. Despite being Audi’s tip-top supercar, it’s actually one of the more subtly designed cars in its range.
What’s it like inside?
The R8’s cabin is just starting to show its age slightly. It’s by no means a bad place to be, but it just feels like it’s missing out on some of Audi’s latest technology. That said, the seating position is excellent, while the general fit-and-finish is top-notch. It’s comfortable, too, with seats that are a great compromise between support and cushioning.
There’s a good amount of space in the cabin, too, while a 112-litre boot in the nose of the car is just about the right size for a weekend bag or some shopping.
What’s the spec like?
The R8 takes a stripped-back approach to technology, with all of the major functions such as navigation and media accessed via the Virtual Cockpit setup ahead of the driver. It takes some getting used to - and can be a little frustrating at times - but it does give the cabin a cleaner appearance.
You also get Apple CarPlay via wired connection, but this app feels like it has been designed specifically for touchscreens, so accessing it via the R8’s rotary dial is a little tricky.
The R8 remains a hugely enjoyable car to both drive and experience. This RWD really does feel like a great showcase for what the R8 can do and though it might be a car entering its later stages, it still feels like one of the very best all-rounder supercars on sale today.
That V10 engine remains one of the all-time great engines. As orders are now closing, and the R8 comes to an end you can still browse our stock vehicles.