Audi R8 Spyder

audi r8 spyder – DOC640928

Launched in 2007, the first-generation Audi R8 was so successful that the German brand decided to keep it around for no fewer than eight model years. The Spyder, on the other hand, is a bit younger than that, having been unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show for the 2010 model year. At first only available with the 5.2-liter V-10, the convertible also received the 4.2-liter V-8 for 2011, and a limited-edition GT model for 2012. With the second-generation, 2016 Audi R8 underway, a redesigned Spyder is also in the works.

Up until now just a speculative model based on the common scenario that the coupe must be followed by a convertible, the Spyder just became official by making its debut at the Nurburgring track. No need to get excited though, Audi presence on the “Green Hell” has nothing to do with records. The Germans are only testing the topless supercar on Europe’s most demanding race track.

The second-gen R8 Spyder is set to arrive sometime in 2016 for the 2017 model year, most likely with the same specs as the coupe. There’s no official word as to whether the R8 Spyder will also receive an E-Tron version, but that’s very likely to happen. Find out more about it in my speculative review below.


Audi R8 Spyder

Audi R8 Spyder

Audi R8 Spyder

Much like any other transformation that turns a coupe into a convertible, the R8 Spyder will be identical to the R8 Coupe we saw at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show save for the roof and the engine hood. All told, the camouflage on the test car is just a formality and Audi’s way of saying “Nope, you can’t have it yet.” In reality, we all know that under that sheet of swirly wrap there’s an evolutionary design featuring Audi’s new corporate language consisting of more angular features. Overall, the new R8 Spyder should sport a more aggressive stance due to its larger front grille and vertical side intakes, slender taillights, and race-like rear diffuser.

As for the features that make the R8 a supercar with infinite headroom, expect the metal top to be replaced by a lightweight fabric top with an aluminum and magnesium frame, as well as a completely different engine lid. The recipe will be similar to the first-gen car, as the large glass piece that shows the engine in the coupe will be replaced by a vented hood and a windscreen behind the rear seats.


Audi R8

The Spyder’s interior should mimic the coupe’s in just about every detail. Look for a redesigned, flat-bottomed steering wheel with three spokes and plenty of controls, revised sports seats with enhanced lateral support, and a 12.3-inch screen that replaces both the old instrument gauges and the MMI display previously fitted in the center stack. There’s also a redesigned dashboard with new A/C vents and a new center console. Trim options should include an Alcantara and Nappa leather combo or the optional full Nappa leather for the seats, as well as clear-coated carbon-fiber for the center console, dashboard, and door panels.


Audi R8

With the 2016 model year marking the end of the line for the V-8-powered R8, it’s safe to assume the Spyder will also get the V-10 as the only engine option. The unit in question is the same 5.2-liter V-10 first launched in the 2016 Lamborghini Huracan , but tweaked to produce 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. That’s a 15-horsepower and an eight-pound-feet bump over the previous engine.

Another big change in the drivetrain compartment is the availability of only one transmission. Audi decided to drop the six-speed manual and offer the R8 with the S Tronic dual-clutch only. Naturally, this will also apply to the Spyder model. The S Tronic will deliver power to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro AWD system and will likely propel the supercar to 62 mph in about 3.6 seconds and up to a top speed of 199 mph. The coupe needs 3.5 seconds to hit 62 mph and tops out at 201 mph.

While the R8 Coupe also comes in a Plus version that benefits from 610 horsepower and 413 pound-feet, it’s very unlikely that the Spyder will get a similar trim. Unless Audi decides to extend the Plus nameplate to the Spyder, the convertible will only be offered with the standard V-10.

However, the R8 Spyder may get an all-electric version. The 2016 Audi E-tron coupe is motivated by two electric motors powered by a large, T-shaped, 49-kWh battery, which deliver a total of 455 horsepower and a whopping 679 pound-feet of torque. The R8 Spyder e-tron would need 3.9 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start and have an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

Other novelties that come with the new drivetrain include a revised quattro system that diverts up to 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels in normal driving conditions and to the front wheels on slippery surfaces.

Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg combined for the new V-10, which is a 10 percent improvement over the previous model, thanks to a new stop-start system.


Audi R8 Spyder

U.S. pricing for the new R8 is not yet available, but the coupe should retail from around $119,000. The Spyder, on the other hand, will be a lot more expensive, at around $133,000 before options.


Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet by Porsche Exclusive

The 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet might not have the R8’s supercar looks, but the sports car is significantly quicker thanks to its turbocharged, 3.8-liter, flat-six engine. Rated at 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, the six-cylinder pushes the 911 from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds and up to a top speed of 197 mph. On the other hand, the 911 Turbo offers a different driving experience, due to both its turbocharged mill and rear-engined configuration. Price-wise, the Turbo S Cabriolet is a lot more expensive than the R8, checking in at $194,600.

McLaren 570S Spider

McLaren 570S Spider

Introduced for the 2016 model year as McLaren’s first sports car aimed at the Porsche 911 Turbo, the 2016 McLaren 570S Coupe has yet to receive an open-top version, but it has been confirmed that the Spider is underway for 2017. Much like its competitors from Porsche and Audi , the 570S Spider will make use of the coupe’s drivetrain, a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 that cranks out 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. The Spider will likely need 3.3 seconds to hit 62 mph and reach a top speed of around 202 mph, which would make it quicker than the R8 but slower than the 911 Turbo S. The British drop-top should retail from around $200,000, making it the most expensive of the bunch.


Audi R8 Spyder

Though it wasn’t the quickest and most powerful supercar in its segment, the first-generation R8 was a popular choice among enthusiasts due to its relatively affordable sticker and availability of both V-8 and V-10 engines. This tradition is likely to continue with the second-generation car despite the fact that Audi discontinued the V-8 mill. A bigger issue here is the fact that Audi no longer offers a manual transmission for its supercar, which will upset a lot of purists. On the other hand, Audi is only doing what other automakers are doing with their sports cars — ditching manual gearboxes for dual-clutch automatics.


  • Redesigned shell and updated powerplant
  • Likely more affordable than its competitors


  • No manual transmission
  • Not likely to receive a Plus version

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