The second-generation drop-top supercar, which its maker Audi Sport claims is "lighter, stiffer and faster" than the generation it replaces, made its debut at this year's New York motor show and hits European showrooms in November, priced from 179,000 euros (AU$256,000).
Like the current R8 Coupe V10, the Spyder version is powered exclusively by the naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 shared with the Lamborghini Huracan. But unlike its hardtop stablemate, the convertible is not currently available in higher-performance V10 Plus form... yet.
The pricing of the sole Spyder model represents a $33,884 premium above the R8 V10 Coupe it shares general outputs and specifications with. Just $1116 separates the new convertible from trumped-up if slightly pricier V10 Plus Coupe ($389,616).
In terms of direct competition from Lamborghini, the R8 Spyder is $82,300 more affordable than the current Huracan LP610-4 Spyder, which is priced locally from $470,800.
The dual injected 5.2-litre V10 produces the same 397kW at 7800rpm and 540Nm at 6500rpm as the R8 Coupe, backed exclusively by a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and, of course, a performance-honed version of Audi's customary quattro all-wheel-drive system.
With the aid of launch control, the R8 Spyder is claimed to sprint from 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds, some 0.2sec quicker than its predecessor, while its 0-200km/h time is claimed to be 11.7sec. Top speed is 318km/h, while combined fuel consumption is said to be 11.7L/100kms.
There's little in the way of differences between the new Spyder and existing Coupe in terms of dynamic hardware and functionality.
The drop-top's quattro system can feed up to 100 per cent of available torque fore and aft, and the core four Drive Select drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Auto and Dynamic) and customisable Individual mode are supplemented with three harder-core Performance settings (Dry, Wet and Snow) for a total of seven different drivable settings.
Standard fitment braking is eight-piston front and four-piston rear combinations as featured on the coupe, while a cost-optional carbon-ceramic system (as used on R8 V10 Plus) uses six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers.
The redesigned electro-pneumatic canvas roof can be deployed or stowed in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h while moving, or remotely via the key fob while parked. Its structure is made from aluminium and magnesium, it uses a a carbon-fibre roof cover and the complete assembly is said to weigh just 44kg. At 1695kg in kerb weight, the new Spyder is 25kg lighter than the first-generation version, and is slightly shorter, a significant 36mm wider and sits with the same overall height.
The Spyder is a significant 55 per cent stiffer in torsional rigidity than its predecessor and said to be on par with the first-generation coupe.
Like the coupe, the new-look gen-two Spyder features 'sideblades' that are available in four different colours plus finished carbon-fibre, a feature not integrated into the gen-one rag-top.
Audi Australia suggested that local examples are 'high spec' and will come with features as standard that are offered in other markets as cost-options.
While standard equipment aligns itself with the current coupe version, Audi Australia will reveal full details of options available closer to the car's local mid-2017 launch.
To October 2016, Audi Australia has sold 46 examples of the original R8 Spyder, while sales expectations of the new version are forecast at between five and 15 units per year. By comparison, the forecast of R8 V10/V10 Plus Coupes is around 50 units annually.
Check out our full first-drive review from Spain, right here.
2017 Audi R8 Spyder – Features
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Audi sport bi-modal exhaust system
- Audi magnetic ride
- LED headlights
- high beam assist
- dynamic indicators
- metallic/pearl effect paint
- Wave brake discs
- R8 sport steering wheel with two ‘satellite’ buttons for power and for Audi drive select features
- Audi virtual cockpit with 12.3-inch instrument cluster display
- Bang & Olufsen sound
- high-gloss black inlays
- DAB+ digital radio
- Parking system plus
- rear-view camera
- seat heating
- convenience key
- automatic air conditioning
- MMI navigation plus with MMI touch