2023 Audi R8 GT RWD Spells the End of the V-10 Era

2023 audi r8 gt
2023 Audi R8 GT RWD Spells the End of the V-10 EraAudi
  • For 2023 Audi will offer 333 special-edition RWD R8 GTs.

  • The Audi R8 GT RWD gets a bump in power for its 5.2-liter V-10, from 562 to 602 hp.

  • To better manage wheel slip from the rear axle, the electronic stability control now offers seven settings, from minimum to maximum slide.

Until now, if you wanted the big power from an Audi R8, you had to step up to an all-wheel-drive model. For 2023, Audi will offer a special-edition R8 GT, a rear-wheel-drive coupe with the more powerful version of the 5.2-liter V-10 with 602 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque that was previously only available in the Quattro. Audi says the GT will get to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and have a top speed of 199 mph.

The R8’s shifts will be faster too, with new gearing for the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission to allow for the increased top speed, and quicker gear changes along the way.

What’s Special about the Special Edition

There will only be 333 special-edition R8 GT RWD coupes available, distinguishable from other R8s through black badges including a new R8 GT emblem. For wind-tunnel-tested stability and increased car-show cred, the GT comes with a glossy carbon-fiber front splitter, side spats, rear scoops, a diffuser, and a high gooseneck rear wing. Not only are the badges and aero elements menacingly midnighted, but should you peer through the rear hatch at the V-10 engine, even the intake manifold on the GT is black. Basically, it looks like the ZL1 1LE of R8s.

Photo credit: Audi
Photo credit: Audi

Inside, it reflects the first-generation R8 GT with a black and red interior, including red seatbelts. Floor mats and seats declare the GT’s special status, and owners can figure out their place in the order line with a sequential special edition build number embedded in the carbon-fiber center console.

Rear Drive, Now with More Slip-N-Slide

Photo credit: Audi
Photo credit: Audi

We’ve liked the RWD R8 for its more playful driving characteristics, and Audi is leaning into that with the R8 GT. The rear axle now offers Torque Rear Mode which allows the traction- and stability-control system to be set in one of seven different programmed curves, from more to less slippage. This is controlled by a knob on the steering wheel, for those last-minute drift decisions. Jokes aside, the customizability of the stability controls means that the R8 can adjust for different drivers, or increasing track confidence.

Lighter Side

The GT will weigh 44 pounds less than the R8 Coupe Performance RWD. This is partially due to lightweight forged 20-inch wheels, wrapped in Michelin Sport Cup 2 rubber. Ceramic brakes are standard in the GT, as are sports seats and the performance sport suspension with a carbon-fiber-reinforced-plastic anti-roll bar. The lightweight bar and aluminum suspension components also help the GT achieve its weight loss.

The real loss here is what Audi only hints at with a header in its press release that reads, “Goodbye to the V-10 Engine.” It’s no real surprise that the V-10’s days are numbered, but if this is the start of Audi’s last year festivities, can we expect some additional special R8s for 2023?

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