Abraham Lincoln once surmised that if you gave him six hours to chop down a tree, he would spend the first four hours “sharpening the axe”.
To use Lincoln’s vernacular then, our metaphorical tree is tackling (or at least attempting to) a series of mundane tasks over the course of a rainy weekend. Like going to the supermarket. And the axe? A brand new, 2016 Audi R8 V10 Spyder. You’ve no doubt read our first drive abroad, but here’s an actual right-hand-drive car, on actual British soil, with actual British weather.
And with actual British weather fully engaged – grey, wet, properly miserable – it’s time to engage that cliché of the ‘everyday supercar’.
Anyway, it’s an expensive bit of kit to use everyday. Audi is asking you pay £130k (an £11k gain) for the privilege of more weight and less structural integrity over the R8 V10 coupe. No doubt the even faster V10 Plus Spyder – which hasn’t yet been made official but is inevitable – will be even pricier. Expect that car next year.
Though our test car’s final spec is certainly expensive enough. With a full gamut of options including gloss carbon inlays, LED laser lights, a different steering wheel, 20in black alloys, lots of driver assistance and whopping £7,700 ceramic brakes, it weighs in at £167k. Woah.
Still, looks bloody good in red, no? With said ‘Y’ design Anthracite black alloys and that ‘Rotor’ grey interior, it certainly looks the part, if not quite as eye-poppingly out there as TG’s long term R8 V10 Plus Coupe in bright yellow.
That’s a pic of them both parked together, up above. Like a pair of insanely powered V10 skittles. Just don’t eat the wing.
The V10 badge is significant here, not because it does in fact have a V10, but because it’s probably one of the last naturally aspirated supercars you will be able to buy brand new. Audi – and Lamborghini, in the guise of the Huracán – is clinging on to engines without turbos, and TopGear.com commends them for it, for reasons that are obvious. Noise.
The next wave of these ‘baby’ supercars will undoubtedly feature boosted powerplants, and the world will be a little quieter, a little less rowdy and a little less interesting as a result. Shame.
First test then: does it fit in an Average British Parking Space? Erm, yes, as you can see here. As Snug as a Thing in a Thing. Yes, it’s wide, but only a smidge wider at 1.9m than a perennial UK favourite, the Ford Focus (1.8m). So it fits. Good. Are you getting bored yet?
Second test: does it fit an Average Travel Bag Fit For An Average Human? Erm, yes, but only one. So you and your companion either pack light, or you ditch your companion. Yes, it’s not the most commodious luggage space, but then, y’know, V10.
Before we begin any supermarket-run nonsense, a trip to the Chiltern Hills is essential. To sharpen the axe and all that. And threading it through towns and villages and so forth proves that it’s more docile and easy to live with than any V10-engined supercar has a right to be.
Stick it in ‘Comfort’ mode, and it’s no less daunting to drive than an A4 saloon. A little howl of that V10 reminds you that, in fact, you are not in an A4 saloon.
And howls are better heard in the hills. Hmm, perhaps more sharpening is required. The, um, nearest supermarket was closed (honest, it was), so we headed off to find another one.
Nope, no supermarkets here either, but on a traffic-packed motorway, the R8 is very adaptable. With British weather changing almost by the minute, and traffic barely creeping along, the fact that you can open/close the roof at up to 30mph was indeed most helpful.
Still, because the cabin is a little less accommodating than the Coupe, the seats do get a tad tiring after a while. Great stereo, mind.
Seriously, where have all the supermarkets GONE? Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places. Like here. Still, along fast, flowing B-roads, no roof > all the roof. Why? You can hear that V10 screaming along, hear every nuance of its construction, every tick, every off-throttle pop and bang, every whine. It’s a glorious sound.
At road speeds – and as we’ve already mentioned – you feel no difference to the Coupe. Just point and, um, squirt. It corners flat, turns in sharply and grips very, very well. Any more than that and you’d need a track.
Yes, the steering doesn’t really talk to you, but as mentioned, the engine very much does. In fact, with the added drama of that V10 bellowing at you, we have correctly concluded that Spyder > Coupe. No argument.
Oops, we appear to have arrived at Goodwood. And all the shops are shut. Oh well. Time then, to reflect: it has niggles (boot space, cabin space is more cramped than the Coupe, steering could liven up a tad), but that V10 just dominates everything. If, like we did, you completely ignored the brief to do mundane things and just went out to find glorious B-roads and revel in the R8’s capability, then you will find that the R8 Spyder is indeed very easy to live with everyday. A very sharp, handy little axe.
Wonder what time the shops open in Scotland?