Much slicker and smarter R8

Audi R8Spyder
Audi R8Spyder

Audi’s formidable R8 supercar also comes in Spyder guise – that’s ‘without a roof’.

There was never much wrong with it, save the rather clunky and inefficient R Tronic automated manual gearbox that most buyers preferred to the straightforward stick-shift.

Well that’s gone now, replaced at the mid-life facelift point by a far slicker 7-speed S tronic system that the majority of this car’s fortunate buyers will want.

They’ll enjoy smarter looks but the same ferocious pace from the V8 and V10 FSI petrol engines that beat beneath the driver. A great motoring experience awaits.

The roof opens and closes electrohydraulically in 19 seconds, and during driving at up to 31mph. The heated window in the bulkhead between the passenger and engine compartments stands apart from the soft top. The window can be retracted and extended by a switch and also serves as a wind deflector. If sensors detect a potential rollover situation, two strong, spring-tensioned sections are ejected upwards from the seats.

It was always a bit of a disappointment to jump into an automatic R8 and have to contend with the rather unsophisticated R tronic automated manual gearbox.

With the benefit of a far more sophisticated 7-speed S tronic system, the hand built, naturally aspirated eight and 10cylinder FSI petrol engines are given even more opportunity to show their mettle with the acceleration time from rest to 62mph improved by three-tenths of a second compared with R tronic-equipped equivalents.

Mechanically, nothing has really changed, so as before, there’s standard quattro four wheel drive and a choice of V8 or V10 petrol engines.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: Audi R8 Spyder

PRICE: £100,225-£124,225 - on the road

INSURANCE GROUP: 50

CO2 EMISSIONS: 294-349g/km

PERFORMANCE: [V10] 0-62mph 4.1s / Max Speed: 194mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: [V10] (combined) 19mpg

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: ESP, twin front and side airbags, anti lock brakes, traction control, ISOFIX child seat fixing

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/height 4431/1904/1249mm.