Audi is officially unveiled the long-awaited R8 Spyder at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and just released details on the car. The R8 Spyder is set to compete directly with the Ferrari F430 Spider, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder (sort of,) and the Porsche 911 Cabriolet Carrera 4S. The 525 horsepower 5.2-liter V10 engine is phenomenal, and will be mated to a six-speed manual or dual-clutch R-tronic transmission. This combo will help the R8 Spyder reach 0-62 mph in only 4.1 seconds, to a top speed of 194 mph.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know I’m not a fan of the R8 Spyder. I think it’s ugly, and is one of those cars that aren’t meant to be convertibles. They got rid of the sideblade, which really gave the coupe character and helped visually shorten the body. The engine cover, which is clear on the coupe, is now opaque since nobody wants to see the folded-up top stored, but no longer allows you to see the engine bay; one of the great visual features on the R8. The aluminum-coated windshield frame catches the eye in a weird way and simply looks awful. And brown for the signature color? Come on Audi.
Despite my overall disdain for the R8 Spyder, I have to hand it to Audi for the engineering. While they need to fire the designers of this thing, the technical specs are impressive. Since it sports the same 5.2-liter V10 engine as the R8 V10, we already know the engine specs, but the Spyder version offers a few more features. All-LED headlights are a first, and a step in the right direction. I expect those to be in all Audis after a while. The top is made from a soft fabric to reduce weight and storage space – just like all other open-top Audis – and can be folded up or down in 19 seconds up to 31 mph.
A few interior changes round out the package, which turns out is not much different than the V10 coupe, just much, much uglier. Sales in Germany will begin early next year and start at 156,400 Euros, or somewhere around $228,563 USD. A big price to pay for such an ugly car. If you somehow like how it looks and like the idea of the R8 being a drop-top, you’ll be happy with the car. It’s very well-made and I’m sure it will be a blast to drive.
Check out the photo gallery and video below: