Audi took the wraps off its most ambitious road car yet, borrowing the name from its race-winning cousin to boot: The R8 supercar.
Audi is launching a convertible version of its R8 Spyder, the R8 Supercar, which makes its debut first at the New York auto show back in March, then UK for the first time at 2016 Goodwood Festival Of Speed, but now full pricing information of R8 Spyder is available. Like the new R8 coupe, the Spyder features the same height and wheelbase, but it is both wider and shorter.
At a claimed 3554 pounds’ dry, the R8 Spyder is reasonably elegant by modern standards. The R8 Spyder costs from £129,990 and will available for dealerships from late 2016.
The new R8 Spyder comes to market with the fabulous, naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-10, rated at 540 horsepower. According to Audi, Standard kit includes Audi’s driving mode selector, multi-function leather steering wheel and a 12.3-inch digital display instead of dials that Audi calls its Virtual Cockpit. From a standstill, 62 mph comes up in 3.6 seconds and top speed is ungoverned at 198 mph. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic channels the power to all four wheels. LED headlights. The default setup is strongly rear-biased but the Quattro all-wheel-drive system can send as much as 100 percent to the front or the rear axle. There is a GKN-supplied installed, water cooled front differential and a limited slip differential in the rear. The Sport Plus Pack that adds more dynamic steering, adaptive dampers and a sportier exhaust note.
Compared to the original R8 Spyder, the design has been sharpened up quite a bit, and it’s all the better for it. While it may not have quite the same in-your-face styling as some of its rivals, enhanced by the addition of distinctive side-blades, which shove air into the engine, and make the car’s midriff a little wider. The R8’s cabin experience is dedicated to its pilot. About the only thing shared between driver and passenger is a set of form-fitting sport bucket seats.
The switches and controls are funky and angular, and we like the materials, which range from classic to futuristic. The optional Bang & Olufsen stereo features 13 speakers, including two in each seat’s headrest. The front trunk can actually hold enough luggage for a weekend getaway, and the cabin is far roomier than it would seem from the outside.
12.3-inch digital display instead of dials that Audi calls its Virtual Cockpit, shunning traditional dials for a customizable digital display, rather than having a multimedia interface (MMI) in the central console and the instrument panel up front, the two are combined into one high-resolution display, with the choice of three views: classic, infotainment and sport. Google Maps is built in for navigation, while it’s easy to partner your smartphone with the Spyder. This enables you to share mobile phone content via USB and display it on the MMI. Either via Android Auto or Apple Car Play. Another optional extra is the Audi Phone Box, which allows wireless charging simply by placing your phone on the storage compartment, as well as creating a wireless connection via the car’s aerial.
As Compared to the old supercars had heavy manual gearboxes with heavy clutch pedals, not like the Spyder. With its seven-speed dual-clutch and S-tronic gearbox. It’s simply a case of pressing the throttle pedal and the gearbox will do the rest, while for those times when you want to move things along a bit faster you can pull up the right paddle behind the steering wheel to shift up through the gears. The clarity and depth are mightily impressive. With the roof up, the gearbox set to full auto and the Drive mode dialed into Normal or Comfort, you’ve got an incredibly comfortable and cocooned cruiser that will happily demolish those motorway miles. Find a twisty road, drop the roof and change the engine mode to Individual or Dynamic.
From a standstill, 62 mph comes up in 3.6 seconds and top speed is ungoverned at 198 mph. The R8 Spyder’s top can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 31 mph. Rigidity and stiffness are compromised by lopping the roof off. Even with the roof up, the driver and passenger have another option to capture the V-10’s aggressive soundtrack: A trick that can be performed independently of the roof’s position for Simply lowering the rear window. While the roof mechanism and extra engineering required to add the torsional strength lost by the roof all adds weight. But that’s to ignore the sheer thrill of having the roof down, and the howl of the V10 ricocheting off the surrounding buildings and straight back into the cockpit. But The folding roof mechanism is a masterwork of mechanical dance, from a single press of a button it just taking just 20 seconds to reveal the sky. The sound quality is stunning whether you’ve got the roof up or down
Audi’s done a stunning job here. 80 percent of its spaceframe is made from aluminum, and the folding top weighs less than 100 pounds. The mix of carbon and aluminum makes the Spyder some 55% more rigid than the previous model, as well as being some 25kg lighter. Compared to its hardtop counterpart it’s only 125kg heavier. The standard tires are 245/35R-19 front and 295/35R-19 in the back, with rear rubber option of 245/30R-20 front and 305/30R-20. It’s impressive given the level of engineering required.
While it might not offer quite the same sense of occasion as slipping behind the wheel of a Lamborghini or Ferrari, the R8 Spyder’s cockpit is still a very nice place to be, with lots of leather and carbon to deliver a very premium, high-end feel. In any event, this supercar won’t be confused with anything normal and pedestrian. Visually, the open-top treatment works well with the new R8’s dramatic proportions, but how well its blocky front end ages remains to be seen. With all this power you’d naturally want to be able to stop pretty sharpish, and the optional-extra ceramic brakes that our car had deliver incredible stopping power. They can be a bit snappy to start with, but once you’ve generated a decent amount of heat their stopping power is immense.
The Audi R8 V10 Spyder is an engineering masterpiece, the Spyder is a true supercar that you can enjoy every day. It’s comfy and quiet when you need it to be, but a flick of the switch will see it transform into a true howling and cackling supercar that will punch you in the back as you climb through the gears at a staggering rate.
The all-new 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus is in the company of some majestic supercars. The Acura NSX, McLaren 570S, Porsche 911 Turbo S, and Mercedes-AMG GT R each pack similar power for about the same money. Shelling out an additional $27K over the base car’s $162,900 starting figure earns you the performance edge of the V10 Plus, but the R8’s real advantage is its packaging. Put simply, no other supercar blends design, convenience, power, and agility quite like Audi’s.