It always seemed a bit mean spirited of Audi to give the R8 RWD a ‘mere’ 533bhp, but that’s now been rectified. That car has been replaced by the new R8 Performance RWD, which is good for 562bhp - exactly the same as the entry-level quattro, which we have some news for also. More on that later.
The 0-62mph time for the rear-driven R8 is unchanged, with the deed done in 3.7 seconds as before. The top speed has gone up, though, from 198mph to 204mph (203mph in the Spyder). Not brisk enough for you? You’ll need to ditch the R8’s (relative) subtlety and opt for the related Lamborghini Huracan Evo RWD, which develops 602bhp and hits 62mph in 3.3sec.
The visual cues of the outgoing model remain, meaning you can tell one of these apart from the all-wheel drive R8s by looking at the side blades. Here, the lower sections are body-coloured, and the upper parts are gloss black. A more obvious giveaway can be seen on the passenger side of the dashboard - a big ‘RWD’ badge.
All Performance RWD models have a gloss black styling pack and 19-inch twin-spoke forged wheels as standard, upgradable to 20s with the ‘Edition’ trim level. This also adds carbon fibre sideblades, carbon ceramic brakes, fancy Nappa leather and blacked-out Audi four-ring logos.
As before, the lack of Torsen centre differential and front driveshafts makes for decent weight savings of 65kg for the coupe and 55kg for the Spyder. RWD models also get a rejigged ESC system, which allows for “controlled drift[s]” in ESC Sport. For the first time in a rear-driven R8, there’s also the option of Audi’s variable Dynamic Steering setup.
Coinciding with the arrival of the Performance RWD, Audi has simplified the R8 range. The RWD is one of only two core versions available, the other being the Performance quattro. The entry-level V10 quattro has been ditched, which isn’t hugely surprising since the Performance has always been much more popular. Plus, Audi did the same thing for the US market a while back, so this isn’t without precedent.
The price of the Performance RWD is £126,885, which is about £7,000 more than the old RWD. If you want the Spyder version, you’ll need to part with £135,575, while the quattro is now £146,990 in coupe form or £155,680 as a Spyder. Edition trim adds £11,000 to the prices of the RWD models, and £7,000 to the quattro cars. All are available to order from 21 October.