Audi R8 Coupe

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Editors' First Take

Strong winds are blowing sand and gravel across the tarmac at Circuito Maspalomas, turning this tricky track on the island of Gran Canaria into a slippery mess. These are definitely less-than-ideal conditions for a morning of supercar driving. And ironically, it's where Audi -- a company that built its reputation on the performance benefits of grippy all-wheel drive -- is launching its new rear-wheel-drive R8.

This isn't the first time Audi's offered a RWD R8. In 2018, Audi introduced the small-batch R8 RWS (for Rear-Wheel Series), limited to just 999 units globally, of which 320 came to the US. Now, the RWD R8 moves from contract work to full-time employment, enjoying a permanent position in Audi's supercar lineup. You can even get it in both coupe and convertible body styles. Awesome.

Mechanical changes for this rear-wheel-drive car are minimal, and none of them detract from the usual R8 excitement. Audi's 5.2-liter V10 is the star of the show, with predictably linear power delivery that makes you want to rev the bejesus out of this engine to eke out every ounce of oomph. This naturally aspirated V10 sounds freaking awesome, too, so bonus points to anyone who gets the R8 Spyder; drop the top, nail the throttle and enjoy that sonorous song.

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