The V10 powerhouse Audi R8 returns in brand new, facelifted form with a new, more aggressive face and the usual detail updates.
We’re big fans of the Audi R8 and, as we discovered, the RWS became the favourite within thirty seconds. So it was really nice to see a few months ago that with the refreshed model the rear-wheel drive is now a permanent fixture.
For 2021, the R8 gets a top and tail and some tweaks to the interior and spec. But the core, screaming V10 engine and seven-speed twin-clutch transmission is there.
Look and feel
You can see the new wheels here and the car carries on in both coupe and Spyder forms. I quite liked the Spyder until the RWS came along.
Anyway, the main changes are around the more aggressive front end with new headlights, grille and various aero bits. It’s going to be more recognisable as an R8 but not trash the ability to take it anywhere. This car really is the Huracan for people who like to be able to park outside.
The R8 sticks with the fine interior it already had, with a few minor tweaks. The red interior looks cool.
Audi resisted adding a central media screen, with the MMI Plus system soldering on as part of Virtual Cockpit. Its Italian twin was screaming out for the new screen in its refresh because the system in the dash sucked.
Here’s an interesting stat. Both the R8 RWD and quattro coupes weight 1595kg. So while they share the Audi space frame concept, the more expensive quattro R8 uses more carbon fibre reinforced polymer to balance it against the lighter mechanicals of the two-wheel drive car. Audi only mentions the 2kg saving by using a CFRP front stabiliser.
The R8 RWD features crinkle cut steel brakes, static double wishbone suspension and all cars run on 20-inch alloys which look extraordinary. No idea what they’ll do to the RWD’s ride quality, though.
The quattro Performance cars get magnetic ride, ceramic brakes (a $21,500 option on the RWD!) which explains some of the weight-saving, chopping 11kg.
The Spyder is 44kg heavier.
The glorious 5.2-litre V10 continues on. Who doesn’t love a V10?
As before, it’s available in two versions. The RWD pumps out 397kW and 540Nm. That’ll get you to 100km/h in 3.7 seconds (coupe) and 3.8 (Spyder).
Move up to the quattro Performance and you get a staggering 449kW and 560Nm to push you to the ton in 3.2 seconds (3.3 for the Spyder) and, eventually 330km/h. Whoosh.
I don’t really care about those figures, the V10 sounds awesome.
It even has fuel-saving cylinder-on-demand. Audi claims 12.2L/100km for the RWD and 13.4 for the quattro.
How much and when?
2021 Audi R8 Coupe RWD 397kW $295,000 + ORC
2021 Audi R8 Spyder RWD 397kW $316,500 +ORC
2021 Audi R8 Coupe performance quattro $395,000 +ORC
2021 Audi R8 Spyder performance quattro $416,500 +ORC
If memory serves me correctly, the RWD seems slightly cheaper than the RWS that went before. The rest is about the same, so a bit more for the same money equals less. The R8 now comes with three years free servicing, too, but it would be nice if the warranty was longer. Having said that, on cars like these, nobody expects a Kia warranty.
The cars will be here in almost exactly a month on July 24, 2020.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.