Ten Cylinders, Top Down: Audi R8 Spyder Debuts in New York

One of the greatest things about driving an Audi R8 is listening to the ferocious wail of its V-10 engine. Now drivers will be able to hear that mechanical concert even more easily, with the introduction of the Audi R8 Spyder V10 at the New York auto show.

“Compared to the R8 Coupe, the engine sound in the open high-performance sports car now delivers an even more intense experience,” Audi board member for technical development Stefan Knirsch said in a statement.

With its fabric roof lowered, the Audi R8 Spyder cuts a mean profile with a flat decklid aft of the rear seats. Though we miss the glass panel that exposes the engine in the standard R8, the Spyder’s deck has abundant vents to let heat and noise out. Unlike some exotic convertibles, there are no “buttresses” behind the seats. Audi says the roof can be raised or lowered in just 20 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. The rear glass window can we raised and lowered electrically, too, to modulate how much buffeting and sound occupants encounter. The production model, unsurprisingly, looks just like the prototype we recently spied in Europe.

Within the aluminum and carbon-fiber structure, the R8 Spyder packs a 5.2-liter V-10 engine good for 540 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. With a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive sending power to the road, the Spyder rockets to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds and tops out at 197 mph. An optional sports exhaust, with gloss-black tips, makes the engine even more vocal. The R8 Coupe also offers a V10 Plus model with a bit more power — 610 hp, 413 lb-ft — and we’re crossing our fingers the Spyder will eventually offer that engine, too.

In most other respects, the Audi R8 Spyder matches its coupe progenitor, with a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit color display for the driver, a four-mode Drive Select function, audio speakers integrated into each seat for top-down listening, and a minimalist interior with racy touches like a steering-wheel-mounted engine start/stop button.

Check back soon for details on how much you’ll pay for the Audi R8 Spyder. The 2017 R8 Coupe is $164,150 for the regular V10 version and $191,150 for the V10 Plus. For now, take a look at the ten-cylinder machine in the photo gallery below.