Audi's rear-wheel drive R8 RWS (Rear Wheel Series) will land in Australian showrooms in April wearing a $299,500 before on-roads price tag for the coupe and $321,000 for the convertible, making it $67,500 cheaper than its quattro counterparts.
Like its siblings, the R8 RWS is powered by a high-revving, mid-mounted, Lamborghini-sourced 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 that develops 397kW at 8250rpm and 540Nm at 6500rpm.
Paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the drift-friendly R8 coupe can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds before hitting its electronically limited top speed of 320km/h. Exact performance figures for the convertible were not revealed.
The move to rear-wheel drive has liberated 50kg from the supercar's overall weight, while Audi claims the road car shares 50 per cent of components with its track-only R8 LMS that competes in the GT3 racing class.
Part of a 999-unit global production run, Audi's first-ever RWD supercar will also sit alongside the $403,000 V10 Plus coupe that lifts outputs to 449kW/560Nm.
The R8 RWS can be distinguished from its siblings by its standard 'Ibis White' paintwork and optional red Audi Sport GT stripe, as well as gloss-black exhaust pipes, body colour-matched lower side blades and 19-inch, five-spoke 'V design' wheels.
Larger 20-inch wheels can be optioned alongside red-painted brake callipers. As standard, the R8 RWS comes with gloss-black brake callipers with eight-piston units on the front and four-pot grabbers on the rear.
Audi's single-frame front honeycomb grille is finished in matte black, and LED headlights, daytime running lights and tail-lights are standard.
Inside, the new entry-level R8 still sports a fully featured cockpit with 12.3-inch all-digital 'Virtual Cockpit' instrumentation, digital radio, satellite navigation, heated and electronically controlled sports seats, Alcantara and leather cabin, reversing camera, and front and rear parking sensors.
Audi Australia managing director Paul Sansom said the company's venture away from quattro performance technology demonstrates its open-mindedness to new ideas.
"The Audi R8 RWS is such an exciting car for us because it's the very first rear-wheel drive production car ever built by Audi," he said.
(We're not 100 per cent sure on this claim as certain pre-war Audi-branded models were driven from the rear.)
2018 Audi R8 RWS list pricing
Audi R8 RWS V10 coupe – automatic - $299,500
Audi R8 RWS V10 convertible – automatic - $321,000
This article originally appeared on CarsGuide.