FYI, the Audi R8 still exists, and its base variant just got better than ever

Power’s up by around 30hp
by Vijay Pattni | Oct 9, 2021
PHOTO: Audi
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Audi has quietly announced an upgrade to the loudest car it makes. Today, friends, we welcome a brand-new R8 into the fold.

Yes, a new R8—remember them? With all the noise surrounding Audi’s fully-electric e-tron range, it’s easy to forget the German brand still makes a naturally aspirated, fire-spitting mid-engined V10 supercar...that itself makes a really, really good noise.

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So, this new R8 is a rear-wheel-drive R8, and is unsurprisingly called the Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD. Long name, short story: It replaces the entry-level car, bringing more power and inspiration from the wild LMS GT4 racer with it. Indeed, all R8s are now ‘performance’ R8s, available with rear- or four-wheel drive (something called ‘Quattro,’ apparently).

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All clear? Good. The 5.2-liter nat-asp V10 is present and correct, here producing 562hp—versus the old car’s 533hp—and 550Nm of torque (again, an increase on the old entry-level car). We’re not told exactly how this additional power and torque was created, but we’re imagining Audi just turned its Spinal Tap knob to 11.

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It’s matched as before to a seven-speed S tronic gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential, Audi claiming a 0-100kph time of 3.7sec for the Coupe and 3.8sec for the Spyder. Top speed sits at 328kph (or 327kph if you’re in the drop-top). Plenty fast enough. We’re told this performance RWD car will allow for “controlled drifts,” and gets a bespoke suspension tune as well as dynamic steering available for the first time. It’s built in the same factory as the LMS GT4 R8, and Audi tells us that 60% of the parts on that racer were carried over from the road car.

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Rather more obvious nods to this symbiosis include the radiator grille, the large air intakes, the front splitter, the rear air outlet, and the tailpipes. The hood ‘slit’ is said to evoke the old Audi Sport Quattro, and you can choose from 10 different paint options. Inside, it’s business as normal, which is to say a really good, well-finished layout. Audi’s virtual cockpit featuring a 12.3-inch screen is the standout feature, as are bucket seats and the all-important ‘RWD’ badge.

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You can still option it up to the hilt if you so wish—20-inch wheels, better leather, a better sound system, better brakes, and so on—but prices start at £126,885 (P8.74 million) for the—deep breath—R8 V10 Performance RWD Coupe, and £135,575 (P9.34 million) for the Performance RWD Spyder.

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“The Audi R8 V10 RWD really struck a chord with customers right from the start,” explains Audi Sport managing director Sebastian Grams. “Now it has 30hp and 10Nm more, taking the driving experience to a whole new level.”

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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