When the first generation Audi R8 was unveiled in 2005, six-time 24 Hour of Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx was quoted as saying it was “the best-driving road car today.” Fast forward to today and the R8 is still praised for its handling along with its everyday usability – a great alternative to the Lamborghini Huracan. And some of the latest 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’s 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 last iteration of the Audi R8, as well as the last V-10 we’ll see from Audi.
But this is one hell of a 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, reach 124 mph in just 10.1 seconds, and tops 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 also required a new transmission, and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) in the R8 GT shifts quicker than the standard R8, and its revised gearing is actually responsible for most of the speed and acceleration improvements. There’s 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 button on the steering wheel of the R8 GT. Level 1 has the most automated control, while level seven has the least. This allows the driver to be as happy as they want on the track.
The engine and transmission aren’t the only improvements to the R8 GT that are worthwhile. Compared to the weight of the R8 Performance V-10 RWD, the R8 GT is 44 pounds lighter, coming in at 3,461 pounds total. A key part, according to Audi, comes from the exclusive combination of wheels and tires used on the GT. The 20-inch, 10-spoke wheels are light and strong due to the use of 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. Additional lightweight measures come from the ceramic brakes, carbon fiber seats and a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) front swingarm with aluminum connecting rods.
The exterior features exclusive details such as black badges – including the “R8 GT” badge – and Carbon Aerokit. That the Aerokit is made in high gloss and uses wind tunnel developed parts for the R8. These exclusive GT elements include the front splitter, “flics”, side skirt covers, rear bumper side elements, a rear diffuser and a gooseneck (aka gooseneck) 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 struts – read all about this interesting technology as applied to a Porsche right here.
The interior is a performance stamp for the original R8 GT from 12 years ago. The elements inside are done 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 center of the center console, just below the gear selector and mounted in a partially matted carbon fairing.
And like the original R8 GT, the 2023 R8 GT will be a limited run of just 333 units worldwide. The R8 GT will hit dealerships in 2023, but US-specific dates, volumes and pricing will come at a later date. The 2011 version was limited to just 90 in the US and cost $198,050 at the time, so we’d expect similar numbers (adjusted for inflation) for the 2023 version. Still, you don’t want to wait. By the time these special, final V-10 R8s hit dealer floors, they’ll likely all be sold.