- Acceleration and grip
- V10 roar
- Completely usable in real-world
- Boot size
- Audi badge
Audi R8 Spyder rivals
For head-turning looks there’s few cars better geared for the job than the Audi R8 Spyder. Arriving two years after the firm’s successful R8 Coupe, this drop-top took the flagship sportscar’s desirability to another level.
Just like its Coupe brother, the Spyder is available with two engines; a deep-chested 4.2-litre V8 or a screaming 5.0-litre V10. Both offer startling performance, but it’s the larger of the pair that can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.
Not only for the noise it makes, but for the performance it offers as well – the 0-62mph time is around five seconds (though the post-2012 cars manage to drop to 3.8 seconds) and top speed nears 200mph. Even the V8 will complete the benchmark sprint in under five seconds.
Quattro four-wheel drive as standard
There’s an abundance of grip available thanks to the firm’s clever quattro four-wheel drive system, so you can use all of that power and performance most of the time – regardless of weather conditions. A rearward bias to the power delivery ensures that those who want to push the envelope can still have some real fun behind the wheel too.
In most cases though the R8 feels planted and secure, and in terms of accessible performance there are few more friendly supercars to use.
Despite the R8 Spyder’s exotic look, updated late in 2012 to include harder–edged LED lamps, it’s as happy being used to pick up the shopping as it is lapping your local race circuit.
The boot’s small, but the cabin feels no more intimidating in its layout than one of the firm’s saloon cars. If there’s a criticism it’s that the R8 doesn’t feel quite special enough in there, and some of the switchgear is distinctly last-generation Audi, but it’s perfectly comfortable and boasts build quality some rivals can only dream of.
The main 2012 change is losing the awful R Tronic semi-automatic gearbox and replacing it with the excellent S Tronic dual-clutch automatic instead – the result is quicker and smoother shifts, no matter how fast or slow you’re driving the car.
Perfect for poseurs
In reality most Audi R8s will be driven sedately in front of an on-looking crowd, and there’s no better way to get jaws dropping than be sat behind the wheel of the gorgeous Spyder. That roof can be lowered on the move, at speeds up to 31mph, so if the sun suddenly shines you’re ready to take advantage of it.
At higher speeds the electrically adjustable glass rear screen lessens wind-buffeting too, though lowering it into the body does allow occupants to savour the engine note fully instead.
An impressive package no doubt, and one good enough to stick the fight to true exotica, but read our full Audi R8 Spyder review to find out just how hard a punch it packs.