Think of the template for a successful, coveted, limited-run supercar, and the Audi R8 pretty much traced it to the millimetre: high-revving, naturally-aspirated engine, 200mph potential, less weight than standard, a three-figure production run - or about half that of a 911 Speedster - and a reasonable price of £112,000. The fact that those 999 cars made were for the entire world, and that Roadster versions were also available, ought to make a right-hand drive, R8 RWS in the UK a dream find.
However, as has been opined on PH previously, things haven't exactly panned out as expected for the RWS. Because despite being the best-driving second-gen R8 yet made, despite the V10's charms being greater than ever and despite the fact that seemingly every limited-edition car commands a chunky premium, all the RWS has done since launch is depreciate. Curious.
What it means, though, is that cars like this Ibis White RWS Coupe are available with fewer than 3,000 miles, for £85,000. Now, obviously, that hardly makes it Britain's next great affordable driver's car, but it still looks like conspicuous value for a vehicle of the R8's talents. That sort of money is still being asked for 981 Cayman GT4s, by way of comparison. Even going from the list price, this is nearly £30,000 less than new. For a brilliant supercar, one of just 33 registered in the UK according to HowManyLeft. It's baffling.
Perhaps the RWS has struggled, relatively speaking, because it doesn't have a manual gearbox. Perhaps it's because the car isn't super hardcore like a GT3 RS. Maybe it's just not what the traditional R8 customer wanted, the car having found so many fans as a quattro-only supercar for a decade before the introduction of the RWS. Whatever the case, it looks like a canny purchase for the enthusiast now; having spent a chunk of time in one during an Autocar car of the year shoot - where it beat a Lotus Exige, no less - it's easy to vouch for the Audi's huge talent.
The depreciation curve will soften off, too. Moreover, the format is returning, this time as a series production 'RWD' model, which could well draw attention back to the limited-run original. Don't forget the rear-drive Huracan has made a comeback; that's going to cost £164,400 before any options, and there's no way it's going to be twice as good as the R8. Even with Amazon Alexa. That's before we even consider what the next Audi R8 might be, which currently seems as likely to have a V10 in it as your next leaf blower does.
But even if all that fails to boost the market for RWS R8s, current or prospective owners shouldn't despair. Because they're still going to be left with one of the best driver's cars Audi has ever made, one blessed with a scintillating powertrain and expertly honed dynamics. Being really picky, one of the cars without stripes and with silver wheels would be ideal, though that's splitting the very finest of subjective hairs, because the RWS - in any configuration - is a gem.
In fact, even that's not a problem, because there are - surprisingly - more in the classifieds. This RWS is brand new, showing 150 miles and moody as anything with its black-on-black colour combo. Or at the other end of the colour scale, this one is white with matching sideblades. Both are more expensive than the featured car, though, and there really is something incredible about this being offered for just £2,157 more than a new 992 Carrera. For those drivers who really like driving, there's not even a decision to be made...
SPECIFICATION - AUDI R8 RWS
Engine: 5,204cc, V10
Transmission: 7-speed S Tronic dual-clutch, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 540@7,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 398@4,800rpm
First registered: 2018
Recorded mileage: 2,700
Price new: £112,450
Yours for: £84,950