New 2021 Audi R8 V10 Performance RWD arrives with 562bhp

Audi shuffles sports car range with new Performance-only R8 V10 line-up

Audi has added a new model to the R8 line-up in the form of the new R8 V10 Performance RWD (Rear Wheel Drive), which will be the new entry point to the R8 sports car range when it goes on sale on 21 October.

It means that standard R8 V10 quattro and V10 RWD models have been dropped from the line-up, and every R8 on sale in the UK will soon wear a Performance badge, with rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models available. Prices will start from £126,885 - a rise of just under £7,000 compared with the R8 line-up it replaces. 

However, for the extra money comes more power. Using the same naturally aspirated, mid-mounted 5.2-litre V10, the R8 V10 Performance RWD produces 562bhp, 29bhp more than the outgoing R8 V10. Torque stands at 550Nm. 

Power goes to the rear axle only via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while claimed performance sees the R8 RWD accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds for the coupe and and 3.8 seconds for the new R8 V10 Performance RWD Spyder. Top speed for the coupe is 204mph and 203mph for the Spyder.

Losing the R8 V10 Performance quattro’s driven front axle results in a lighter kerbweight of 1,590kg for the coupe and 1,695kg for the Spyder; Audi claims the exact same fuel economy of 21.9mpg. 

The RWD model is equipped with a mechanical limited-slip differential, while the move to a rear-wheel-drive-only set-up also means that the car features recalibrated ESC settings. For example, in the Sport drive mode, the traction control will allow a controlled slip angle for easily controlled drifts. 

The R8 V10 Performance RWD is also equipped with Audi Dynamic Steering, a variable steering system that alters the steering ratio depending on the driving mode selected and the speed of the car for greater steering stability or sharper turn-in when required. It’s the first time the system has been fitted on a rear-wheel drive R8. 

As for looks, the R8 V10 Performance RWD inherits the same tweaks and features as other Performance-badged R8 models. The front grille is finished in matte black and is teamed with a large front splitter, while at the rear the R8 is equipped with large oval tailpipes. In the UK, buyers will have a choice of 10 colours, while a gloss black detailing pack will be standard-fit, along with 19-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels. 

Inside, nappa leather sports seats are fitted as standard, along with Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrumentation and a wireless smartphone charging box. 

Prices for the new R8 range begin from £126,885 for the R8 V10 Performance RWD, with the Spyder variant costing from £135,575. 

Edition spec features more equipment and is priced from £137,885; it includes 20-inch wheels finished in bronze, nappa leather with diamond contrast stitching, and a premium audio system from Bang & Olufsen. Edition models are also offered with a £9,000 carbon fibre styling pack. 

Quattro versions of the 612bhp R8 V10 Performance start from £146,990 for the Coupe, and £155,680 for the Spyder.

Check out the latest on Audi's new RS 3 hot hatch here...

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