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Audi R8 V10 GT RWD revealed – finally an answer to the Porsche 911 GT3?

Audi’s signing off its V10 engine with a hardcore rear-wheel drive R8 GT RWD special

The Audi R8 V10 supercar is being sent off in style with the release of a new, lighter and more focused special edition called the V10 GT RWD. It’ll be the last Audi model to utilise the iconic V10 FSi engine, a unit that’s been at the leading edge of Audi’s high performance range since it was first installed in the D3-generation S8 in 2006. The V10 GT RWD will be limited to just 333 units globally, with only 15 units coming to the UK starting at around £200,000 when deliveries commence in early 2023. 

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The key difference between the new GT and the existing R8 range is that for the first time Audi has combined its most powerful iteration of the 5.2-litre V10 engine with rear-wheel drive. Here, it matches the quattro’s peak power figure of 611bhp at 8000rpm, but comes with a slight torque reduction producing 417lb ft between 6400 and 7000rpm. This is an 11lb ft deficit compared to the quattro models, but it peaks 200rpm lower down the rev-band and is retained over a longer spread of revs. The V10’s 8700rpm redline is retained. 

This engine tune is matched to a revised seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with shorter gear ratios. As it has only two driven wheels, initial off-the-line performance is slightly down on the quattro, reaching 62mph 0.3sec slower at 3.4sec, but this is reversed by 124mph where the new GT will sail past in just 10.1sec, 0.2sec ahead of the all-wheel drive car. Top speed is down by 6mph – that’ll be the shorter gear ratios.

To go alongside the GT’s bespoke powertrain, Audi Sport has calibrated a new incrementally-adjustable torque-rear traction control system. There are now seven different settings, all adjustable via a new control mounted directly on the steering wheel. The GT comes as standard with Audi’s passive damper setup, but Audi Sport is offering an optional manually-adjustable coilover setup with adjustments to ride-height, compression and rebound. 

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> Audi TT RS Iconic Edition revealed

Audi quotes a 1570kg weight figure, 25kg down on the V10 RWD Performance and 100kg down on the quattro. The weight savings are derived from a variety of lighter parts, including a new set of forged 20-inch wheels (available with optional Michelin Cup 2 rubber) and a carbonfibre reinforced plastic anti-roll bar on the front axle. Audi’s also fitted new anodised coupling rods to the front suspension that are both stiffer and lighter, plus there’s standard fitment of a carbon ceramic brake package which utilises 380mm discs on the front axle and 356mm items on the rear. Compared to a standard R8’s steel brakes, the ceramics save an additional 15kg of unsprung weight. 

Aesthetically, the GT comes as standard with a carbonfibre aero kit that includes a new front splitter, dive planes on the front bumper, side skirts, a more serious rear diffuser and a much larger stacked rear wing on swan-neck mounts. These elements draw inspiration from the LMS racer, and coincide with one of three colour options, including a unique matt finish for the Suzuka Grey colour. Inside, the GT’s cabin has picked up red stitching and seatbelts, but otherwise maintains the R8’s minimalist design. 

So this is the end of the R8 V10, but it’s interesting to note that Audi will not mention that it’s the end of the R8. That’s because Audi’s not yet done with its mid-engined supercar, and with a new F1 program utilising hybrid powertrains coming up in 2026, the reality of a future plug-in R8 model could well be in the product plan. For now, though, we can mourn the V10 engine, an instrumental element of Audi’s growth in the 21st century.

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