Audi Bids Farewell To Its Glorious V10 With The 612 HP RWD R8 Coupé V10 GT


The time has come for another famous Volkswagen Group engine to bow out of the public eye. Audi’s naturally-aspirated V10 is nearing the end of its life in production cars, and is getting sent out in a limited run of just 333 Audi R8 Coupé V10 GT RWDs. With 612 horses on tap and rear-wheel-drive, this engine and the car it’s bolted to are going out with a bang.

Back in 2021–I know, it feels like a decade ago–Audi announced the end of the Audi R8 as we know it. First gracing the world in 2006 for the 2007 model year, the German supercar is a mix of futuristic touches while also managing to stay pretty conservative. It’s a car that looks like it could have been built in 2002 or 2022, especially the first-generation. The R8 launched with a 4.2-liter V8 making 414 horsepower, but in 2008, the automaker announced that the R8 would fire on ten cylinders. The Audi R8 V10 was born, and its 5.2-liter V10 sang a 525 HP symphony.

2023 Audi R8 Gt Side 1664827963

The R8 has enjoyed a long 15 model-year run of being the sensible supercar. But as Audi has confirmed, 2023 will mark the end of the V10-powered R8 and the current generation of the R8 is the last of the supercar as we know it. Audi says that the R8 will be replaced with an electric supercar that will arrive in the middle of this decade or the end of it, depending on which report  you read. One thing is for sure, and it’s that the R8 V10 isn’t going out quietly.

Audi is sending out the V10 in the best way possible with a new Audi R8 Coupé V10 GT RWD.

2023 Audi R8 Gt Front Three Quarters Motion 3 1664827965

It starts with the R8 V10 Performance RWD, an R8 with that 5.2-liter V10 pumping out 562 horsepower. That’s already a healthy amount of power, but Audi Sport GmbH then did some tinkering on the engine. It came out of the other side laying down 612 horses to the rear wheels. Audi says that this is good for a sprint to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, to 124 mph in 10.1 seconds, and a top speed of about 199 mph. Helping achieve those numbers is a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

As Hagerty writes, the origins of Audi’s V10 date back to 2003. Back in those days, the V10’s displacement was 5.0-liters and housed in the Lamborghini Gallardo. Things would only evolve from there as the engine grew to 5.2-liters with an increased cylinder bore spacing, an uneven firing interval, and the Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) system.

2023 Audi R8 Gt Badge 1664827931


When Audi talks of the history of its variant of the corporate V10, it mentions the engine’s placement in the S6 and S8, both performance sedans that got V10 power in 2006. Admittedly, I’ve been off and on trying to buy a high-mileage S6. I’ve seen a number of sellers say that their S6 sedans have “the Audi R8 V10 engine” or “the Lamborghini Gallardo engine,” but as Audi points out, that’s really only partially true. Audi notes what made the R8 V10 different from the V10 in the sedans before it:

Unlike its sedan counterparts, however, the V10 in the R8 had a different engine crank, designed for a lighter-weight, freer-revving engine and adopted dry-sump oil lubrication, which eliminated the need for a traditional oil pan. In its place, the R8 had and continues to have a baffle plate below the engine that collects outgoing oil and serves as a reservoir for cycling oil through the engine. The oil pump module consists of a suction and feed pump for filling the oil reservoir and a suction and pressure pump for supplying oil to the engine.

2023 Audi R8 Gt Engine 1664827951

This allowed engineers to mount the engine lower, which decreases the center of gravity of the vehicle. It also allows the engine to withstand higher lateral forces, as the oil pump will never be starved from cornering too aggressively. An oil cooler is run from the left-side air intake blade to keep the engine running cooler.

The dry-sump lubrication system is identical from the road-going R8 to the R8 LMS GT3 racecar, which can see much higher G-forces on tracks like Daytona and the Nürburgring due to extreme banking, slick tires and aerodynamic changes increasing downforce.

Of course, that V10 comes with an unforgettable soundtrack. Perhaps the coolest part about this engine is that you don’t have to look too far to find one. These aren’t saddled in super rare cars that never leave a garage. Instead, they’re in tens of thousands of Lamborghinis and R8s around the world that you’ve probably seen scooting down a highway or leaving a car show.

Top Audi V10 5.2

And it doesn’t end with the road, either, as racing versions of the R8 V10 have seen success in competition, too:

With more than 250 customer racing R8 LMS GT3 racetrack cars made in addition to GT2 and GT4 vehicles—all with V10 engines—they’ve laid claim to five overall wins at the Nürburgring 24, four overall wins at Spa and class wins at Daytona, the Bathurst 12 Hours, Macau and many other famed tracks throughout the world. From its first race through April 2020, globally, racers in the R8 LMS GT3 have achieved 75 driver championships, 13 overall wins in 24-hour races and numerous other podium finishes.

Understandably, Audi is proud of what it has done with the R8 V10.

2023 Audi R8 Gt Front Seats 1664827937

This car actually comes 12 years after the announcement of its predecessor, the original Audi R8 GT. That car followed a similar formula. The V10 back then made 525 HP and Audi kicked it up to 560 HP.

Here’s a reminder of what that car looked like:

Audi R8 Gt 2011 1600 02

This new GT, just like the old one, gets carbon fiber body parts, weight reduction, matte gray paint, and exclusive wheels. Audi says that the new GT weighs 44 fewer pounds than the R8 Coupé V10 performance RWD that it’s based on, coming in at about 1,570 kg (3,461 pounds) empty.

The R8 V10 has long been this writer’s “unattainable” dream car. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the first-generation is alluring in ways that Lamborginis of the era didn’t. I often found myself obsessed with stats like the car’s LED headlights, the side blades, and that V10’s sound. It was a teenage poster car and today, it’s one of my adult wallpaper cars.

2023 Audi R8 Gt Rear Three Quarters Motion 2 1664827977

In all, it sounds like Audi has chosen a great way to send out the V10. Audi even says that this car will come with a “new torque rear-drive mode enables precise and controlled oversteering,” which sounds like a type of drift mode. Pricing hasn’t been released yet, but Audi says that just 333 of them will be made. After that, Audi will be marching on towards its electrified future.

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17 Responses

  1. For many years, over a decade in fact, my ultimate dream car was the manual gated R8 with the V10. I would look at adds for used ones and even stop at dealerships periodically to smell the smell of a new one. There was a tear in my eye when I read that the gated manual died. So a couple years ago when Underground racing put together the R8 Decennium, with twin turbos, a V10, and like 1500 HP, I was mightily stirred, from the bottom of my heart.

    And yet now, as I see the end of internal combustion performance rockets looming in the not too distant future, I am curiously subdued. I find that I don’t even really want one.

    What I want is a hyper-efficient turbo-electric of the lightest possible weight, sporting vectored all-wheel drive, and dual mode operation for both city and highway performance.

    The wanting one was a wonderful ride. I’m pretty sure that, today, having one is less glorious.

    Desire is an interesting thing.

    1. I wanted a GTI since I was a teenager, and when I bought my first brand new car in 2020 I essentially went straight to VW to buy one. It was an attainable dream come true. I barely looked at anything else and my decision came down to it, a used Golf R, or a Jetta GLI from the same dealership.

      …turns out I wound up so underwhelmed and frustrated by the GTI that I sold it 2 years later for roughly the same price I paid. Sometimes you spend so much time building something up in your mind that it has no chance of fulfilling your expectations. Desire sure is an interesting thing.

      I still think GTIs are great little cars, but I don’t understand the level of hero worship that they get from the automotive press. They’re an awesome starter enthusiast car but they don’t hold up as well once you drive a wider variety of things. Now I’ve been making more of an effort to meet my automotive heroes before I jump to conclusions. Some exceed expectations (the NA Miata did this for me), some meet them (I’d say the Camaro and Mustang are in this category for me), and some don’t.

      Such is life. I’m hoping a rip in a 911 will be my next bucket list item checked.

  2. I’ve seen a few R8s over the years, and someone in the town where I’m living has one that comes out on rare occasions (but not in Winter. No salty roads for it!).

    I love them. They appear to be about as practical — or at least usable — as an exotic can be, and certainly don’t seem to be lacking in performance. I prefer the looks of the OG version (mainly the frontal treatment, especially the headlights) and, if that meant I had to make do with the V8, I’d suffer….

    Leaving money totally out of the equation, I’m probably the last person on Earth who would get stoked by an electric supercar. Given the coin, I’d buy an R8 — ANY R8 — in a heartbeat.

  3. Too bad they never produced the R8 TDI. Audi had an R8 concept car that had a 493 horsepower 6.0L V12 turbodiesel making 738 lb-ft of torque. Performance was 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds with a top speed of 200 mph. Supposedly, it could return 40 mpg US on the highway.

    Imagine that powertrain in a car that was 1,000 lbs lighter, significantly narrower to cut down frontal area, and had an emphasis on aerodynamic streamlining. Manufacturers always have to put the big engines into bloated, overweight lardasses of vehicles with an emphasis of brand identity over ultimate streamlining, and the supercar offerings available suffer greatly because of it. It contributes heavily to the false perception that cars with big engines are gas guzzlers because they have big engines, when the reality is that most of the vehicle’s efficiency is determined by the inherent characteristics of its platform(mainly, overall aerodynamic drag and mass), at least that is the case after the adoption of advancements such as variable-valve timing and electronic fuel injection.

    The McMurtry Speirling proves that you can shove ridiculous amounts of torque and horsepower into a small, lightweight package, and the results speak for themselves. Yes, it is electric, but the same laws of physics that apply to electric cars also apply to ICE powered cars as well. The less road loading required, the less power needed to maintain speed. The less power required to maintain speed, the less fuel is consumed at that speed.

    If the Audi R8 V10 had a CdA and mass comparable to its V16 streamliner from the WWII era, using the modern gasoline-powered V10, I would NOT be surprised if it returned greater than 60 mpg highway. Yet me get this over-styled abomination instead, and are robbed of the actual substance. Manufacturers are always selling us the sizzle, and not the steak, and it sucks.

  4. A highlight of my life is, and will likely forever remain, doing hot laps in an R8 V10+ lead by Ashley Freiberg at Autobahn Country Club a few years ago when Audi was doing their Audi Experience tour. Literally just got a post card, signed up, and was blown away with a free half day track day for father’s day.

    What an amazing car deserving of a beautiful send off. Seriously fast but easy to drive and actually felt like a car you could live with despite being what it is. It was a lifechanging event for me which made me want to do whatever I had to do to get one. Maybe someday.

  5. I’ve loved the R8 since I was a teenager and I always will. The first gen is just one of those cars that managed to captivate the imaginations of everyone who came into contact with it and perfectly fit the automotive zeitgeist. I think it’s the ultimate example of a halo car too, as Audi improved leaps and bounds overall after its introduction and significantly increased their share of the market.

    People like to bemoan the second generation for being boring, but I personally don’t agree. I think it’s incredibly elegant and fills the fairly sparse “subtle supercar” niche. If you want everyone to look at you buy a Huracan…the R8 is the car for people who want the same glorious V10 experience with less flash.

    If I had the means to acquire a 200k sports car (I don’t and likely never will) it would be a tossup between an R8 and a GT3 Touring for me. Both offer a breathtaking, high revving, naturally aspirated, RWD experience with class and subtlety. The R8 has been a dream of mine forever and I won’t lie…every now and then I see first gen ones pop up around 60-70k and think “hmmmmm I could technically make this work if I sacrifice pretty much everything but the mortgage”.

    Alas…pour one out for a legend. Although after watching the Z06 video dump yesterday I’ve gotta say, that looks like an absolutely incredible car that could capture a lot of the same magic for about 100k. I hope that the dealerships and end of ICE mass hysteria don’t completely ruin that car because if it ever depreciates I may wind up doing everything in my power to acquire one down the road. We couldn’t make a 100k car work right now, but in 5 or so frugal years 75k-80 could very well be doable.

    1. I may be a hoarder of dirt cheap piles of crap, but I’m right there with you. The original R8 has been a dream car of mine ever since I first saw one. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the R8’s design does for me what a Ferrari or a Lamborghini couldn’t. I suppose it’s because the R8’s design was more elegant and subdued while a Lamborghini looks like something that wants to rip your face off.

      And of course, Lamborghini design is fine! There’s definitely a place for cars that look like they need to come with a parental advisory warning. But at least for me, those gentle curves, LED lights, and even the side blades continue to be fantastic.

      1. The R8 has aged better than I thought it would. It’s strikes a balance between edgy and and curvaceous. I spent a fair amount of time as an Audi service advisor, and quickly realized that their particular flavor of “German Engineering” isn’t my thing. The lone exception is the R8 though. Nothing says “Don’t F&%# with me” like a super car with manners.

        I’m calling it now. The R8 will become the “new” 1st generation NSX in time.

        1. VAG really has a tendency to shoot themselves in the dick with some of their engineering choices. In my experience the old “Japanese engineers find the simplest solution and German engineers find the most complicated one” adage tends to ring true. The reliability issues VAG’s cars have certainly aren’t overblown in my experience. I had a MK7.5 GTI that was a constant headache and just a generally underwhelming car for me, to the point that after only 2 years in it I’d seen enough…and although I briefly considered a MK8 R the tech dystopia interior sent me packing.

          It doesn’t necessarily dampen my attachment to Audis and Porsches though. There’s just so much to love about the styling and performance that they offer…although I know better than to ever consider one that isn’t brand new or certified. That being said nostalgia is certainly a factor, as there have always been Audis in my family and my late uncle who was seminal to my development into an enthusiast gave me lots of Porsche books, model cars, shirts, etc when I was a kid. In fact I think there’s still a book on Porsche’s history at Le Mans he gave me on my nightstand at my parents’ house. I should go grab it at some point.

    2. I have similar feelings about it. I always enjoyed the look of it, and the sound of it. It seemed like the attainable car to me. If I had to choose between the GT3 and R8, I would grab the R8. It feels like a car that I could do work on, would be happy driving everywhere, and not everyone will have one.

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