Jay Leno sends power to the correct wheels with the Audi R8 RWS
It feels like the Audi R8 has been around for some time now, but it’s only just dipped a toe into its second generation model run.
What doesn’t feel old is the fact that Audi is basically offering a reskinned Lamborghini Huracán. In fact, it seems Audi is just getting started with the second-gen R8 as the different versions being offered deliver a range of driving experiences and price points.
Our favorite R8 ever built has to be the new RWS version. That’s because it’s a limited-run, rear-wheel-drive version of the R8, and it just made a guest appearance in Jay Leno’s famous garage.
Right away you can tell that Leno is impressed as he spies the 9,000 rpm redline of the car’s 5.2-liter V-10. He remarks that there was a time when 7,000 rpm seemed to be the upper end for a high-strung engine.
The Audi R8 RWS is a rare bit of seeing a German automaker let its hair down and enjoy the party. It’s also quite surprising, as Audi is a company that normally stands on its commitment to all-wheel-drive excellence.
Here on the R8 RWS the automaker is building just 999 examples. Funny enough, but not surprising, the RWS is the slowest member of the second-gen R8 family in the 0-60 mph category. It will run from a stop up to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds where the V10 Plus version with all-wheel drive rips that dash off in 3.2 seconds. In reality, the V10 Plus is even quicker as a number of outlets have posted even faster times.
Regardless, this is the R8 for us. The ability to have far more fun lies with the engine sending power only out back. We miss the gated manual of the previous R8, so this is a fair concession back to smile-inducing automotive hooliganism.
Jay and the representative from Audi walk around the car before heading out for a drive. One of the more interesting aspects while the pair are driving along is the fact that the Audi can be quiet enough for a conversation at a normal or even low volume. A stab of the throttle pedal is all you need to bring the noise back in, of course.
This Audi R8 RWS is clearly a car for those who truly love driving and enjoying their sports car. It’s a brilliant flash of light that we don’t expect to see much more of down the road, as the R8 further evolves. So let’s enjoy it while it’s here.