VIDEO: Jay Leno drives the Audi R8 RWS

It’s been a little while since the release of the first-ever rear-wheel drive Audi, the R8 RWS (Rear Wheel Series). Since then, we’ve seen it compared to the standard Audi R8 Quattro and various other high-performance cars like the Porsche 911 GT3. After almost every review, journalists have come to the same conclusion — the Audi R8 RWS is a great car, one that offers a bit more excitement than the standard car but it’s not as different from the all-wheel drive car as expected. Now, though, Jay Leno has had an Audi R8 RWS in his garage to see what it’s all about.

Jay Leno knows a thing or two about cars. He has a collection of literally hundreds of cars and motorcycles, from many different manufacturers, countries and eras. One car brand he doesn’t seem big on, though, is Audi. Throughout his television show and web series, he hasn’t shown off a ton of Audis. So can the R8 RWS bring Leno into the Audi brand?

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First, a little about the Audi R8 RWS. It’s very similar to that of a standard R8 V10, not the more powerful ‘Plus’ variant. So it uses the same 540 hp 5.2 liter, naturally-aspirated V10 engine and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. However, rather than being all-wheel drive, the RWS is just rear-wheel drive. The idea is to free up the front wheels from having to put power down, thus providing better steering feedback and less understeer. Many enthusiasts were scared that the R8 RWS would lost some of the standard car’s everyday usability, thanks to ditching its unflappable all-wheel drive. However, Leno seems to think it still is a great everyday supercar.

Sure, it won’t be as capable in the rain as the standard R8 but it will handle it just as well as any other rear-drive sports car. Plus, as Jay Leno rightly points out, the R8 RWS is going to be a bit of a collector’s car one day. Being that it’s the only rear-drive Audi in history, there were only 320 made and brought to the US and it happens to also be a mid-engine supercar, collectors are going to flock to the Audi R8 RWS in years to come.

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It’s also cheaper than the standard all-wheel drive model. So it allows aspiring collectors to get in on the R8 RWS cheaper than they would a normal car. Which, as far as investments go, is a home run.

CategoriesEditorial R8
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.