For those who want supercar performance and open-top cruising, you can now order the new Audi R8 ‘Spyder’ convertible in the UK.
The Audi R8 Spyder features a convertible roof that does its thing in 20 seconds at speeds up to 31mph, meaning you only need to brave the rain for 20 seconds when the heavens open unexpectedly in typical British fashion.
To compensate for the lack of a roof, the Audi R8 Spyder has been given a touch of structural reinforcement. It has a dry weight (the one without fuel, cargo and a driver included) of 1,612kg, which is noticeably higher than the V10 Plus Coupe, which tips the scales at 1,454kg.
Torsional rigidity also takes a hit compared with its hard-top sibling, although the use of the multi-material Audi Space Frame (ASF) comprised aluminium and carbon fibre makes the new R8 Spyder 50 per cent more rigid than its predecessor.
Perhaps the saddest news is the monstrous V10 Plus engine output is missing. Buyers will instead have to settle for 540PS (310PS per tonne), 398.3lb/ft / 540Nm of torque from 6,500rpm (the red line is a screaming 7,800rpm), a 197mph top speed and 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds instead of 3.2. 0-124mph takes 11.8 seconds.
Even with absurd levels of performance and a bit more puppy fat, the R8 V10 Spyder manages a claimed 24.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 277g/km, thanks in part to the addition of stop and start.
The cabin of the car is worth mentioning, too, largely because it is stylish and comfortable but also because the usual dials are replaced with a 12.3-inch, fully digital display that uses 3D graphics to let you know what is going on in terms of your speed, the song you are currently streaming, navigation directions – all the useful stuff.
Another addition is the Audi smartphone interface, which originally debuted in the Q7 and A4. Connect an Android or iOS smartphone and certain content is displayed in the aforementioned Audi virtual cockpit display.
The Audi R8 V10 Spyder has a starting price of £129,990, making it more expensive than the V10 Coupe, which starts from £123,145 before extras. Orders are open now and Audi said first deliveries are expected in ‘late 2016’.
Rory Reid put the standard R8 V10 Plus through its paces last year and found it to be a highly capable supercar for the road. In our full review, we said: “The R8 V10 Plus is not just a formidable supercar, it’s one you would willing want to drive to the shops. To work. To bloody anywhere you can think of because, quite honestly, you will never want to venture outside of the cabin.”
Naturally, then, we have high hopes the slightly heavier, slower and less rigid R8 Spyder will have at least some of the same magic as the Coupe – and it has every chance when there is nothing to get in the way of that glorious V10 engine howl.