This next-generation R8 Spyder brings, along with its electronically-operated fabric roof, a number of key performance improvements, just like its new coupe sibling.
Tipping the scales at 1612 kilograms, the R8 Spyder is built on the new Audi Space Frame, a blend of aluminium and carbon fibre that has made the new model more than 100kgs lighter than its predecessor. Additionally, Audi says that torsional rigidity has been upped by 50 per cent over the previous model.
As expected, and again like the hard-top coupe version, the mighty mid-mounted 5.2-litre FSI naturally-aspirated V10 engine in the new R8 Spyder will churn out 397kW of power and 540Nm of torque. While the R8 Coupe has two different states of tune, the V10 and the V10 Plus, there is no word yet on whether the Spyder will follow suit.
The coupe and Spyder alike both feature a new quattro all-wheel drive system, capable of diverting 100 per cent of torque to either axle as needed. The system is matched to a seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission and, although no manual transmission is on offer, paddle-shifted manual control is available with the S tronic box.
Audi claims the R8 Spyder will hit 100km/h in just 3.6 seconds. Although quick, the Spyder is outdone by the coupe, which promises to get there 0.4 seconds faster. Similarly, the Spyder’s top speed is listed at 318km/h, compared to 320km/h for the coupe V10 and 330km/h for the V10 Plus.
Audi’s drive select system is featured, offering a raft of modes that range from comfort-oriented to overtly dynamic if driver preferences demand a more sporting setup.
A number of creature comforts have been added in the cabin, including a 12.3-inch fully-digital ‘virtual cockpit’ displaying information in 3D graphics right in front of the driver, meaning their eyes never need to stray from the road.
Audi’s new smartphone interface also allows various features of the driver's smartphone to be displayed in the same way.
Audi Australia has confirmed that the R8 Spyder will be coming to local dealerships, likely in the first half of 2017, though it won't be before the regular R8 V10, which will arrive around May or June.
Pricing and specs for the R8 Spyder will be confirmed closer to its local launch.