Just in time for summer, Audi is launching a convertible version of its R8 supercar, the R8 Spyder, which makes its debut at the New York auto show. This dramatically proportioned roadster is the next addition to the growing lineup of second-generation R8 models, and, like the new R8 coupe, the Spyder features the same height and wheelbase as its predecessor, but it is both wider and shorter.
That cloth roof weighs just 44kg, and can open and close at up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Audi is claiming air turbulence has been reduced, with road and wind noise "much lower" than the old R8 Spyder. A synthetic textile wind deflector helps to reduce airflow around the head by around 90 per cent. The whole car weighs 1,612kg dry, which is claimed to be 113kg lighter than the previous R8 Spyder thanks to the carbon-fibre reinforced spaceframe and additional stiffening to the A-pillar and sills. The kerbweight is estimated to be around 1,720kg, about 125kg more than the coupe. Torsional rigidity has improved by 50 per cent over the previous model.
With the same 5.2-litre V10 as the hard-top pumping out 532bhp and 540Nm of torque, mated to the S-Tronic dual clutch autobox, this means the R8 Spyder can shoot from 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds. That's one-tenth down on the standard R8, with a top speed of 198mph just 1mph less than the coupe.Claimed fuel economy is 10 per cent better than the previous Spyder, at 24.1mpg. CO2 emissions stand at 277g/km. We expect a more powerful 'plus' version of the R8 Spyder to debut towards the end of this year with 601bhp.
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. In any event, this supercar won’t be confused with anything normal and pedestrian. Look for it at Dealers this summer.