The Audi R8 offers supercar thrills along with the refinement and civility of Audi’s other models, which makes for a killer combination. But a new limited-edition R8 throws out civility and aims for hardcore performance. The 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus Coupe Competition boasts an array of upgrades that should make it even faster on a racetrack. Audi claims it’s the most performance-oriented R8 production model ever. It will also be one of the rarest, with a production run of just 10 cars for the United States.
The changes are subtle but significant. Titanium backing plates for the R8’s carbon-ceramic brakes shave 2.2 pounds off its curb weight. New 20-inch alloy wheels — similar to the ones used on the R8 GT4 race car — cut an additional 26.4 pounds. Every little bit helps.
The R8 V10 Plus Competition also gets a carbon fiber aero kit that significantly increases downforce, according to Audi. Downforce is airflow that pushes the car onto the road or track surface at high speeds, increasing grip and allowing the driver to go faster. At 150 kph (93.2 mph), Audi claims the Competition model generates 114.6 pounds of downforce, or twice the amount of the base R8 V10 Plus. But there’s a rub.
The downforce-generating spoilers and flics also add aerodynamic drag, which slows the car down. While the base R8 V10 Plus has a drag coefficient of 0.36, the Competition’s aero kit increases that to 0.42. That creates a corresponding decrease in top speed: from 204 mph to 196 mph. But at that 196-mph top speed, the Competition still generates more downforce than the base R8 V10 Plus. Audi traded ultimate velocity for more precise handling and stability in this case.
No changes were made to the powertrain, so the 5.2-liter V10 still produces 602 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. That power is fed to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Competition does get model-specific three-way adjustable coilover suspension, though.
All R8 V10 Plus Competition models are painted Suzuka Gray on the outside, with a mostly black interior. Seats are black racing shells with red contrast stitching. An Alcantara steering wheel with red 12:00 marker and carbon fiber shift paddles add more touches of sportiness. If the driver gets sick of listening to the V10 engine’s wail, a 13-speaker, 550-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system can provide some tunes.
The 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus Competition hits U.S. dealerships in November. The limited edition is priced at $239,900, including a mandatory destination charge and gas guzzler tax.