2022 Audi R8 Efficiency RWD Spyder Evaluation: Heresy Has Its Place

After being absent from the R8’s lineup for a handful of years, Germany is as soon as once more providing a Quattroless model of its flagship, the 2022 Audi R8 Efficiency Spyder RWD. I’ve simply spent per week with it and I feel I perceive it now. The truth is, I’ll have even been unsuitable about it. Kinda.

No matter what number of wheels are pushed, it isn’t like this R8 was ever going to be uninteresting to drive — Audi’s 5.2-liter V10 would by no means enable it. This naturally aspirated, mid-mounted masterwork stays one of many best high-performance engines on sale, arguably among the best of all time. Sure, there are sports activities automobiles that supply extra horsepower and positively extra torque for fewer {dollars}, however I am unable to consider one which delivers its energy in a extra constantly thrilling trend — particularly sonically. 

2022 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Efficiency RWD Is a Authorized Stimulant
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As of late, it is all however not possible to discover a high-performance engine and not using a turbocharger or supercharger plumbed in, muzzling its soundtrack in trade for extra energy — energy that you will not often discover the open street to take advantage of. Audi’s V10 by no means fails to make the hair of your neck stand on finish when uncorking the throttle. Even once you’re not exploiting all 562 of its horsepower or all 406 pound-feet of torque, there is a sense of event that accompanies this engine. That is true whether or not you are caning it round a canyon street or being a infantile fool in tunnels. 

Manually shotgunning the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox right into a decrease gear, sending the V10 racing to its 8,700-rpm zenith purely for the amusement — or vexation — of fellow motorists is a endless temptation. Importantly, that underlying gravitas can be current once you’re trundling alongside in site visitors, particularly in the event you play with the shift paddles. The R8 could also be remarkably docile and tractable for a supercar, however it by no means turns a wheel with out feeling particular.

To be clear, this topless rear-drive mannequin is about 0.2 seconds slower to 60 mph than an R8 Spyder with Quattro — 3.5 seconds as a substitute of three.3. It additionally tops out at 200 mph, Four mph earlier than the AWD mannequin packs it in. Away from racetracks, nevertheless, these are such slight variations as to solely be lamentable by probably the most pedantic of spec snobs. On the plus facet, diminished parasitic driveline drag yields improved effectivity; the EPA charges the 2WD R8 at 14 mpg metropolis, 23 mpg freeway and 23 mpg mixed, positive aspects of 1, Four and a couple of, respectively, over the AWD automotive. Mercilessly flog the V10 on a race observe or on a mountain street as I did, although, and you will be staring down single-digit gas effectivity and considering making a donation to the Rainforest Alliance to salve your responsible conscience. 

This rear-drive mannequin additionally feels barely extra playful than the final R8 Quattro I drove. That might be time enjoying methods on me, or the truth that having lately moved from Detroit to Los Angeles, I now have a number of the world’s most thrilling canyon roads at my backdoor. Both method, the steering feels barely keener and the again finish is extra alive and keen to step out with a prod of the accelerator. That is intentional, as Audi’s engineers have baked a skosh extra destructive camber into the rear wheels’ geometry to encourage a livelier-feeling chassis. Do not misunderstand, although. Unyoking the entrance wheels hasn’t made the R8 a sweaty-palmed, twitchy widowmaker. We’re speaking levels of playfulness right here.

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Categorical Purple appears aptly named.

Chris Paukert/CNETPricing and choices: What’s gained and what’s misplaced

This newest two-wheel-drive R8 Spyder is not a limited-edition factor just like the 2018 RWS — it is a common manufacturing mannequin, out there to anybody with a minimum of $162,395 burning a gap of their boutique-branded observe pants. That value, which features a obligatory $1,495 supply charge and $1,300 gas-guzzler tax is definitely a relative discount in comparison with the Quattro. That is a whopping $52,600 financial savings — sufficient spare change for a midrange Q5 SUV or an S4 sedan for these days when you really want AWD. If you don’t need a convertible, the hardtop R8 Efficiency Coupe is cheaper nonetheless, beginning at $151,495 all-in.

In fact, you do not simply lose out on a few prop shafts and a entrance differential for that cash — you lose energy (the Quattro comes with 602 hp and 413 lb-ft) and you’re taking a significant hit to plain tools ranges, each by way of visible and precise efficiency components. Out go the sensible magnetic journey adaptive dampers and electronically managed limited-slip differential (worry not — what’s substituted continues to be a legit LSD), together with carbon ceramic brakes, carbon fiber facet blades, rear wing and laser headlamps. (You possibly can add a lot of this tools again in à la carte, in fact.) In trade, the R8 RWD positive aspects a bigger anti-roll bar up entrance and substitutes a stable rear axle instead of the Quattro’s hole unit. In complete, Audi says this automotive is 67 kilos lighter than its AWD sibling, a minimum of earlier than you begin piling on the choices. 

And talking of piling ’em on, the Spyder check mannequin that Audi loaned me did precisely that. On high of the bottom value, my tester added almost $26,000 in choices. That tally included useful efficiency {hardware} like $1,400 for Dynamic Adaptive Steering and $3,500 for laser headlamps, however most of it was devoted to visible and luxurious touches. These big-ticket bundles included a $3,600 Premium Bundle (B&O audio, prolonged leather-based, illuminated door sills), $3,600 Sport Exhaust Bundle (throatier exhaust with devoted Efficiency drive mode and sport steering wheel), $3,400 Carbon Inside Bundle, $3,500 Diamond Sew Leather-based Bundle and the coup de grâce, $4,800 for a Carbon Exterior Bundle (carbon facet blades, air field cowl and convertible high compartment lid). 

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Contrasting facet blades are a key a part of the R8’s visible identification. They’re additionally costly.

Chris Paukert/CNET

That final choice group would usually strike me as unnecessarily frivolous, however I imagine these blades are important to the R8’s visible identification. Their contrasting colour breaks up what in any other case turns into a very lengthy wheelbase, messing with the design’s proportions — particularly on the convertible. And talking of messed-with proportions, I nonetheless imagine the restyled nostril launched with the 2020 refresh did this automotive’s look no favors and I’ve but to satisfy anybody keen to say in any other case.

The R8 is in its twilight years, however you would not understand it from trying inside. Premium supplies and solid-feeling switchgear serve the cabin nicely. Particularly, the absence of a big heart display screen unwittingly lends the dashboard a timeless high quality. As of late, little or no ages an inside’s look faster than a dated-looking infotainment show, whether or not by way of dimension, decision and even the best way it is mounted within the heart stack. The R8 will get round that point lure by operating all the things by means of its 12.3-inch Digital Cockpit gauge cluster, together with Google Earth navigation and audio chores. This single-screen association is not nice in order for you your passenger to play deejay or wayfinder, however however, there’s nothing left for them to do however dangle on and benefit from the journey.

Additionally, I sometimes do not make a giant level of discussing superior driver help programs on supercars, as options like adaptive cruise management are often too sensible in nature to be vital concerns for weekend and track-day automobiles. In spite of everything, patrons with this type of money sometimes have a luxurious SUV or sedan out there for mundane on a regular basis chores. That stated, the one cruise management system you may discover right here is the standard sort and different lively security nets like lane-keep help and automated emergency braking are absent.

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Days not often get higher than this.

Chris Paukert/CNETReady or not, the long run is closing in

Audi already confirmed that this automotive’s successor might be battery powered. I am positive meaning it will likely be much more performant whereas concurrently being kinder to future generations. That is progress and I am actually excited to expertise the place the nameplate goes from right here. However that does not imply I am not going to overlook this 2022 Audi R8 Efficiency and its rev-happy V10. Lots. Excessive-performance electrical automobiles could also be unequalled for breakneck acceleration, however even at their most visceral, EVs lack the mechanical noises and spine-tingling vibrations that many people purchase sports activities automobiles for. 

I really like EVs and think about myself to be greener than most, however within the R8’s case, I am going to go for the continuing heresy of inner combustion — irrespective of what number of pushed wheels it has.

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