When the first generation of the Audi R8 was unveiled in 2005, six-time 24 Hour of Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx was quoted as saying it was “the best handling road car today.” Fast forward to today and the R8 is still praised for its handling along with its day-to-day usability—a great alternative to the Lamborghini Huracan. And some of the most recent R8s have been even better, like the Audi R8 V-10 Performance RWD with 562 hp, and its Performance AWD sibling that produced an even more impressive 602 hp. But until now, you couldn’t get the most powerful V-10 with the enthusiast-oriented RWD configuration. That is where the 2023 Audi R8 GT steps in, becoming the most powerful production RWD Audi in history. But it’s also bittersweet: this is the final iteration of the Audi R8 as well as the final V-10 we’re going to see from Audi.
But this is a helluva way to go. Not only is the 2023 R8 GT a lighter version of the coupe, but it also generates 413 lb-ft of torque, enough to launch the R8 GT to 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds, hit 124 mph in just 10.1 seconds, and top out at 199 mph. To further differentiate this 602 hp V-10 RWD engine from the 562 hp version, the intake manifold is painted black—something exclusive to the R8 GT.
This new power required a new gearbox, too, and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) in the R8 GT shifts more quickly than the standard R8, and its revised gearing is actually responsible for most of the speed and acceleration improvements. There is also a new mode: Torque Rear. This mode allows the driver to adjust the traction control system with seven characteristic curves that are changed by a knob on the steering wheel of the R8 GT. Level One has the most automated control while Level Seven has the least. This allows the driver to get as tail happy as they like on track.
The engine and transmission aren’t the only improvements to the R8 GT that are worthwhile. When compared to the weight of the R8 Performance V-10 RWD, the R8 GT is 44 pounds lighter, coming in at 3,461 pounds altogether. A key part, according to Audi, comes from the exclusive wheel and tire combination used on the GT. The 20-inch, 10-spoke wheels are lightweight and strong due to using forged aluminum based on versions used by Audi’s motorsports vehicles. These wheels are combined with a set of Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires for maximum performance and traction for road and track use. Further lightweighting measures come from the ceramic brakes, carbon fiber seats, and a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) front sway bar with aluminum connecting rods.
The exterior features exclusive touches like black colored badges—including the “R8 GT” badge—and the Carbon Aerokit. That Aerokit is finished in a high-gloss and uses wind tunnel developed parts for the R8. These exclusive GT items include the front splitter, “flics,” side skirt covers, rear bumper side elements, a rear diffuser, and a gooseneck (aka swan neck) type rear wing. This type of wing maximizes downforce (primarily produced by the underside of the wing) by preventing flow separation that can be caused by turbulence from the uprights—read all about this interesting tech as applied to a Porsche right here.
The interior is a performance temple to the original R8 GT from 12 years ago. The elements inside are crafted in black and red, including the seat belts that were exclusive to the 2011 R8 GT. The floor mats and seats feature the “R8 GT” logos in black and red while the sequential numbering is located in the middle of the center console, just below the gear selector and mounted in a partially matted carbon trim piece.
And just like the original R8 GT, the 2023 R8 GT will be a limited run of just 333 units worldwide. The R8 GT will show up at dealerships in 2023, but US specific dates, volumes, and pricing are coming at a later date. The 2011 version was limited to just 90 in the U.S. and cost $198,050 at the time, so we’d expect similar numbers (adjusted for inflation) for the 2023 version. Even so, you don’t want to wait. By the time these special, final V-10 R8s hit dealer floors, they will probably all be sold.
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