November 6, 2019. That’s when Audi took the wraps off the R8 V10 RWD as a tail-happy variant of the naturally aspirated supercar. Unlike the limited-run R8 V10 RWS before it, the new version is a permanent member of the Audi lineup in Europe. But it’s July 9, 2020 and there’s still no word from Audi about whether the two-wheel-drive derivative is heading to the United States.
However, EPA filings published on the FuelEconomy.gov website suggest the Quattro-less machine is indeed heading to North America. That’s because the page dedicated to the 2021 Audi R8 lists four models – the Coupe and Spyder with 4WD and 2WD.
Not that fuel economy matters that much when dealing with a mid-engined performance car, but the rear-wheel-drive derivative is slightly thriftier. The R8 V10 RWD in both body styles returns 17 miles per gallon in the combined cycle whereas their AWD counterparts do 16 mpg.
In European specification, the R8 sans Quattro offers 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet (540 Newton-meters) of torque from its 5.2-liter V10 FSI. The engine is linked to a seven-speed S tronic gearbox and a mechanical locking differential, while offering 30 hp and 15 lb-ft (20 Nm) less than the base AWD model. It does 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.7 seconds and tops out at 199 mph (320 km/h). Go for the Spyder and the sprint will take an additional 0.1s and the top speed will go down by 1 mph because of the slightly higher curb weight.
Not only is the RWD variant 65 kilograms (143 pounds) lighter in coupe form and 55 kilograms (121 pounds) in Spyder guise, but the two are also significantly cheaper than their all-paw counterparts. Pricing for the US market is not available at the moment of writing, but the R8 Coupe V10 RWD starts at €140,369 in Germany where the AWD model is an extra €25,345. The R8 Spyder V10 RWD is cheaper by the same amount than its Quattro droptop cousin.