Did you hear? Audi has announced that the successor to their acclaimed supercar (they don’t call it ‘the new R8’, because it seems the name isn’t necessarily recycled) will have to do without this magnificent 5.2-litre V10. And it won’t get a V8, or a V6, or even a two-stroke lawnmower engine. Audi’s next R-flagship will, it couldn’t be missed, be fully electrically powered. A yappy-tron.
That means this latest addition to the current R8 range – the entry-level RWD with an extra 30 Performance horsepower and some handling tweaks – is more than just a quick buff from the marketing department. Admittedly, most people will see in this ‘just’ the same second-generation Audi R8 that we have known since 2014. Handsome, purposeful and fairly understated. Especially avoid the matte red polish, which makes it look like a large version of the pencil eraser you bought at the gift shop at the brand museum.
The external differences of the Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD
Ask any Audi nerd and he/she will tell you that the Performance RWD has the angular bumpers and proud tailpipes that appeared with the facelift of the R8 in 2019, and that the RWD doesn’t have the fixed rear spoiler you come with the quattro version. The four-wheel drive is 55,000 euros more expensive in the Netherlands; in Belgium it is currently the only R8 version that is in the price list (for 218,240 euros).
This engine has certainly not lost its shine over time. It is absolutely world class – with its 570 hp it possesses more theatrical talent than any twin-turbo McLaren, Ferrari, BMW or Aston Martin with their 600, 700 or 800 hp. If you were doing your thing continuously at six and a half tens in the Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD, you might not even notice that the front wheels are not being driven. This is a very stable and friendly mid-engined supercar – it doesn’t have that Eurofighter-esque, ‘only thanks to the computers we stay stable’ frivolity of a Ferrari.
But the Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD is certainly not boring. We enjoy it most in the Performance Dry mode (there are also Wet and Snow settings, for exceptionally brave people). In it, the stability control has been weakened, but not completely switched off.
Of course it goes wrong
Nevertheless, the Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD in this mode is so disruptive that you really have to actively absorb it with quick steering movements, otherwise you may just end up backwards – as long as you carefully use the accelerator pedal. If you start to stomp on that brutally, the ESC will think ‘oh, don’t be such an idiot’ and put the brakes on it. Sophistication and precision are rewarded, while the R8 will not easily allow a talentless driver to crash.
If you’re awake at night wondering which tire tread can give you the most information about road texture, you’ll appreciate this R8 less than a 911 GT3. However, if you’ve always wanted to own an R8 but feared that its quattro drive would spoil the fun, then you should definitely give this Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD a try. And then don’t take too long to make a decision…
Specifications Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD (2022)
570 hp @ 8,000 rpm
550 Nm @ 6,400 rpm
0-100 km/h in 3.7 sec
top 329 km/h
12.9 l/100 km
294 g/km CO2, G label
4,429 x 1,940 x 1,236mm (lxwxh)
73 l (petrol)
112 l (luggage)
€ 237,378 (NL)