Are you ad versed to showing off? Then, Audi’s latest supercar, the R8 V10 Spyder will most certainly be not your thing. For the rest of the world, this is quite easily the most anticipated open car of the year, for one simple fact. It looks simply stunning and it will be not go anywhere unnoticed.
When the R8 supercar first arrived in the 4.2-litre V8 coupé guise three years back, we know of people holding off for an open top. Despite the futuristic appearance, they were not entirely convinced of the looks of the R8 coupé; the proportions were slightly ill and most of all, the side blades looked out of placed. With the omission of the side blades, the R8 Spyder will be the “IT” open top supercar, for a while at least.
It’s clear from the onset that Audi has every intention to include the Spyder in the R8 lineup. The folding fabric roof - which is electrically driven into a compartment behind the bulkhead that separates the two seats from the engine bay - gives coherent purpose to the bulgy line that rises from the car's rear and makes it look as if the whole thing was always meant to be this way.
As expected, removing the roof from a coupé means there will be some compromises and the R8 Syder is both heavier and less rigid than the coupé equivalent. Strengthening of the aluminium spaceframe (6kg), the folding roof (42kg), and plates beneath the front and rear subframes to boast rigidity, all in all, the weight gain is 100kg. Coupled with a loss of 20% in body rigidity, it’s hard to ask the R8 Spyder to deliver the sublime driving qualities of the coupé, right?
Actually, there’s really little between the convertible and the coupé. Over hard driving on the Sepang F1 circuit, there’s only a tiny bit of shake through the steering column and that’s about it. No structure flexes or weight dulling reactions. Guess the transformation process is a job well done!
It’s fascinating for such a driver focused machine to have such a wonderfully compliant ride; in fact, this is the smoothest riding car in the entire Audi range. The steering is smooth and light but accurate and it has a transparent quality. Perhaps the only area of concern on the test car would be the R-tronic sequential manual gearbox where it can be ever so slightly hesitant through the first couple of gears.
The R8’s four-wheel drive system is rear-biased and it allows you to drive through the slight understeer to find a neutral balance, or to swing into neat, controllable oversteer. Perhaps the highlight of the Audi supercar driving experience is that the hallmark Quattro security is ever present, yet it allows plenty of adjustments, giving drivers a real sense of assurance to explore higher limits of the car.
The mid-mounted V10 engine produces 525 hp and a metallic-edged soundtrack. It is relentless and it challenges you to rev to its 8700 rpm limiter, while remaining smooth and composed. 4.1 secs (0.2 secs more than the V10 coupé) and a top speed of 313 km/h.
Inside the R8 spyder is a typical Audi interior; logical layout, well equipped and superbly built. Some might be disappointed to find the familiar interior components from lesser Audis, but that’s nit-picking. The sitting position is supercar low but you would find yourself sitting more upright than expected. The interior is perhaps one area that the R8 would be shaded by more exotic rivals like a Ferrari 458 or even the Lamborghini Gallardo which it is loosely based on.
Paying S$705,000 for an Audi seems like an insane thing to do, but when it is a car as good as the glamorous Audi R8 Spyder, it is a bargain, considering that one would need to fork out at least another S$200,000 for the raging Italian bull.
Oh, do set aside a sizeable budget for new wardrobes and facial procedures should you decide on getting a R8 Spyder.
|5,204cc 40v V10
|R tronic sequential manual
|525hp @ 8,000rpm
|530Nm @ 6,500rpm
|Dimensions (L x W x H) / Weight
|4434mmX1904mmX1244mm / 1725kg
|Price with COE*