The German brand unveiled the new Audi R8 Spyder V10 at the 2016 New York International Auto Show in March. Pre-sales are now starting across Europe. The base price in Germany is €179,000 (£150k). I have driven the Spyder version of the previous model and experienced the full wind-in-you-hair effect. More recently I drove the latest coupé version (here) and found that it was good. Very, very good.
The new Audi R8 Spyder V10 combines the same breathtaking performance I experienced plus the thrill of open-top driving. Its freely aspirated 5.2L FSI engine serves up 540hp) of power and delivers 398.3 lb-ft of torque to accelerate the high-performance supercar from 0 to 62mph in a scant 3.6 seconds rising to an impressive top speed of 197.6mph.
This means the R8 Spyder isn’t just more powerful, but also faster than its predecessor. Its driving performance is supported by the brilliant and typical sound of the naturally-aspirated V10 engine – an intensively palpable experience when driving with the soft top folded back.The newly developed Audi Space Frame also makes its own contribution to the improved performance. It features, we are told, a combination of interconnected components manufactured from aluminium and structurally-integrated carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. Its torsional rigidity has been improved by 50 percent in comparison to the predecessor model.
Both the intelligent lightweight construction and the free-wheeling mode reduce consumption: compared to the previous model, the new Audi R8 Spyder V10 is content with using ten percent less fuel, averaging just over 20mpg with emissions at 277g/km. This won’t necessarily please the green lobby but you won’t be thinking of that at the wheel. It’s far too exciting.With lightning-fast shifting, the seven-speed S-tronic transmission transfers power to the newly developed quattro drive system. The electrohydraulic multi-plate clutch distributes drive torque fully variably depending on the driving situation – up to 100% of it can even be directed to either the front or rear wheels in extreme situations. The result is particularly dynamic and precise handling. The various driving modes of the Audi drive select system influence the character of the R8 Spyder. They turn this top-level athlete from a superior motorway cruiser to a cornering hotshot on mountain passes.
The driving dynamics system is controlled using the standard satellite buttons on the R8 sport leather steering wheel with multi-function plus, which is also where the driver can start or stop the engine. Two additional control satellites are optionally available – one for the performance mode, and one for controlling the exhaust flaps. All functions are driver-oriented and thus the driver’s hands remain firmly on the steering wheel whilst their eyes stay focused on the road. The 12.3-inch fully digital Audi virtual cockpit displays all relevant information in elaborate 3D graphics.A special performance view delivers information on torque, power, oil and tyre temperatures, as well as lap times and G-force. The R8 Spyder is the first model, say Audi, in which selected mobile phone content can also be displayed directly on the Audi virtual cockpit via the Audi smartphone interface – just one of many infotainment features available.
The best possible visibility and thus an increase in night-time safety comes in the form of the LED headlights with newly developed laser technology. They are recognizable by a blue anodized band which is also illuminated. An impressive range of personalisation options for the interior and exterior round off the extensive product offer. Geoff Maxted