The open top version of Audi’s legendary R8 has finally made it here. The original crowd-pleasing R8 was always the better looking stablemate of the Bavarian herd. Now, with the drop-top version of the latest model out, our opinions are left unchanged.
While taking the top off a well-loved model can be a frustrating compromise, Audi has solved that conundrum with (even more) chiselled good looks and a sportier disposition for its second-generation Spyder.
Launched first this time around is the mammoth 5.2-litre V10 version. Harnessing a grand total of 540 hp and Quattro All-Wheel, the Audi R8 Spyder can propel to 100kph in 3.6 seconds and blaze on to a top speed of 318 kph. With the ability to to rev to 7,800 rpm under full throttle, the R8 screams through its double-flow exhaust. The trapezoidal tailpipes will play music to the ears of petrolheads everywhere.
The drivetrain makes the car exciting to drive and it’s a real step forward from its already well-balanced predecessor. A rear mechanical limited slip differential and the multi-plate clutch at the front enables torque to move between both axles when the car depends on it.
Four driving modes of Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual can also modify the all-wheel drive settings. An optional Performance mode can really sharpen up the handling further.
There are an additional three driving modes for this model — Dry, Wet and Snow to give your Audi R8 Spyder the perfect set-up for any condition. All of this is connected to a double wishbone suspension and dynamic steering to give you optimised ride, adjustment and precision while you’re on the move.
So, it moves like a sexy beast, with handsome good looks on the outside, but its interiors are also kept strictly to Audi’s standards. Fine Nappa leather — beautifully stitched and as comfortable as ever — engulfs you in the cockpit, and its quality is unparalleled to anything else you’d find in this price range.
Because you’ll never want to leave this convertible, choose from 28 different colour combinations available to make it truly your own. If you’re really serious about speed, opt for the special R8 bucket seats, which will provide stronger contouring for greater lateral hold.
Depending on how you want to engage your car, two steering wheel options — sports or performance — are also available to allow you to have full control over most features in the car, including igniting the engine, performance modes and opening and closing the exhaust. Paddle shifters just behind the wheel operate the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, and if you look directly ahead you’ll find Audi’s now familiar virtual cockpit.
The 2017 Audi R8 Spyder is a mid-engine supercar that goes like it looks and offers something a little different than its German rivals — it’s Audi at its best.