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2017 Frankfurt Motor Show: Audi prepares to reveal rear-drive R8 for V10 drifts

By Cameron Kirby, 11 Sep 2017 Events

2017 Frankfurt Motor Show: Audi prepares to reveal rear-drive R8 for V10 drifts

Audi R8 with just two driven wheels on the agenda at Frankfurt

DRIFT Mode is the new performance buzzword, with high-powered super saloons like the AMG E63 S and BMW M5 being able to disconnect their all-paw transmissions and send all their ample power exclusively to the rear wheels for all your sideways needs.

Audi has decided to cut out the middleman altogether, and release a rear-drive only version of its R8 supercar – no need for a drift mode button then!

Although the 2WD supercar is yet to be confirmed, a teaser put up on Audi’s Instagram ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show appears to show an R8 pulling off some donuts that you wouldn’t be able to achieve with the traditional all-paw transmission.

#breakout @ #AudiIAA Stay tuned!

A post shared by Audi Sport (@audisport) on Sep 8, 2017 at 1:30am PDT

A rear-drive R8 makes sense, with the car serving as a lower-cost entry point to Audi’s supercar range.

Lamborghini already sells a rear-drive Huracan – the R8’s sister car – with V10 power.

Audi says its reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show will include “a limited special model with rear-wheel drive”. Read into that as you will.

The current R8 is powered by a 397kW/540Nm 5.2-litre V10, while the ‘Plus’ model boosts this to 449kW and 560Nm. It is believed a rear-drive R8 will come with the V10 in its less powerful state of tune.

It’s also been speculated Audi could slot a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 in the engine bay, however Wheels was told last year that this is unlikely.

“The R8 is a halo model for the brand; proof that buyers will happily pay the best part of A$400,000 for an Audi. The concern is a cheaper V6 R8 could dilute that halo quality, and ultimately undermine the V10’s role,” we were told by a source within the company.

If revealed, this technically won’t be the first time Audi has produced a rear-drive R8, with both the GT3 and GT4 spec race cars sending power exclusively to the rear treads.

While those models were dedicated race cars, and not production vehicles, they shared a large number of components with the road-faring versions.