Audi’s swan song for the base R8 is this 2021 limited edition model

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Audi’s celebrating the tenth birthday of its high-performance R8 V-10 by sending off the standard-tune 562-hp engine with a special edition. After this limited run of 30 R8s, complete with a few pieces of kit previously only on the top-tier model, Audi will only offer the highest tune of that naturally aspirated 5.2-liter mill in the R8 for 2021. The 602-hp Audi R8 performance quattro model (previously know as the V10 plus) will be the only R8 available next year.

This engine’s shared lineage with Lamborghini—which Audi bought in 1998—makes its birthday chronology somewhat murky. The early form of this V-10 first appeared in the 2003 Lamborghini Gallardo and displaced 5.0 liters. Searching for a power upgrade for its first-gen R8, which debuted with a 4.2-liter similarly borrowed from Lambo, Audi settled on the ten-cylinder from its sister brand. When Audi’s engineers tweaked that engine’s bore spacing and added their “Fuel Stratified Injection” system (FSI), the 40-valve, 5.2-liter mill we know today was officially born.

 

Now that we know what Audi’s celebrating, let’s dig into the commemorative limited edition.

As if to cement their inferiority to the top-tier R8 performance, the last 30 R8 quattro models receive tech features previously reserved for their 602-hp big brother. Upgrades include a carbon-fiber front sway bar (which saves 4.4 pounds and only became available for the 2020 R8 performance) and a sport exhaust system.

2020 Audi R8 V10 quattro limited edition profile
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Audi will offer both coupe and Spyder versions of these limited editions (which don’t appear to have any catchy name, like the R8 Decennium). Three colors will be offered; the most common configuration will be Mugello Blue, which will grace 15 coupes. The remaining 15 models include five Avus Silver coupes, five Sonoma Green coupes, and five Mugello Blue Spyders. A sprinkling of visual spice comes courtesy of a carbon-fiber exterior package (a $5600 option on the performance model) and red brake calipers ($700). On the inside, Audi’s also included the $3400 carbon interior package and, on coupe models, a diamond-stitched Alcantara headliner.

You’ll pay roughly a $16,000 premium for a limited edition coupe and about $12,000 extra for a limited-edition Spyder ($187,250 and $197,150, respectively, with destination included). Is it worth it? Four-ring fans, you tell us—but promise you’ll let those naturally aspirated V-10s sing their sweet song so the world can hear it.

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