The Audi R8 GT RWD is the swan song for the four-ringed super sportscar. It’s a fitting finale too, because it encapsulates so much of what has made the R8 special throughout its 20 year history. Since the original concept, designed by Frank Lamberty back in 2003, the R8 has captured people’s imaginations and changed the perception of fast Audi road cars.
In this latest episode of The Driver’s Seat, Henry Catchpole takes a journey back through the Audi R8 story. He looks at the car’s outstanding attributes, which include everything from its usability to its laser lights to its predilection for oversteer. He also shines a light on some of the less well-known aspects of the R8 story.
Did you know, for example, that there was a diesel version of the R8? Or that the LMS version raced successfully for more than 24 hours? And do you know where the R8 name came from? With the help of Tom Kristensen, Henry reveals that at the end of the film.
But back to the car before us…. The R8 GT RWD itself is magnificent. Its 5.2-litre, naturally aspirated V10 puts out 611bhp and 417lb ft of torque. That makes it the most powerful rear-wheel-drive R8 ever. It also has shorter gearing for its seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch gearbox, helping it to sprint to 62mph from rest in just 3.4 seconds. It will still hit 199mph, too. Lighter forged alloys are also part of the package, along with a system called Torque Rear, which is a bit like McLaren’s Variable Drift Control.
All in all, the R8 GT RWD highlights just what a spectacular car we are losing. A go in an original R8 V8 with a beautiful open-gate manual also highlights just what a bargain these cars are in the used market. Might we one day see an e-tron all-electric version of an R8? Who knows, but if this is it for the R8 name, then it’s been quite the journey.