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£130K buys Audi’s latest R8 drop-top

Mk2 R8 Spyder described as faster, tauter and packed with tech.

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Audi is now taking orders for the convertible version of its latest R8 sports car.

The second-generation model, following the coupe that arrived in November 2015, is on sale at prices starting from £129,990.

The new R8 Spyder is described by its makers as faster, tauter and packed with technology compared to its predecessor. Use of the brand’s latest Audi Space Frame (ASF) construction, incorporating significant levels of aluminium and carbon fibre, has helped keep dry weight down to 1,612kg.

This light weight is achieved despite body reinforcements primarily in the sills, A-pillars and windscreen frame to compensate for the lack of a roof, and these increase torsional rigidity by more than 50 per cent compared to the Mk1 car.

The R8 Spyder employs a cloth hood, again helping to keep weight down. This is fully automated in operation, able to be activated at speeds up to 31mph and raising or lowering in 20 seconds. When retracted it sits beneath a cover sculpted to the body shape.

Power for the new R8 comes from the same 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10 engine as the coupe, producing 532bhp and 398lbft of torque. This sends the car through 62mph from rest in 3.6 seconds, a mere tenth behind the Coupe, and onto a terminal speed of 197mph. Fuel economy is 24.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 277g/km.

Audi R8 Spyder (The Car Expert)

The technology of the latest coupe makes its way across to the Spyder, including the four-mode adaptive dynamics system Drive Select, which alters the characteristics of the car from comfortable to performance-pitched. An optional R8 performance leather steering wheel includes a control offering three more driving modes, dry, wet or snow.

Audi’s digital virtual cockpit is standard, stretching 12 inches across the driver’s dash and including 3D graphics with satellite navigation and Google Earth imagery.

Audi connect internet-based connectivity services are also standard, along with the MMI navigation plus with MMI touch central control system based around a single dial, and the Music Interface.

Smartphone connectivity that debuted in the Q7 and A4, and that has just launched in the A3, is included in the Spyder, allowing content from Apple iOS or Android smartphones to be displayed on the virtual cockpit. Audi’s phone box can charge phones wirelessly, while also available is a Bang & Olufsen sound system playing through the seat headrests.

Other options include a host of personalisation details, such as laser Led headlamps and various upholstery and trim choices, while for performance fans the Sport Plus Pack adds more responsive steering, magnetic ride adaptive damping and a more sporty exhaust note.

First examples of the R8 Spyder are expected on UK roads towards the end of 2016.


The latest from The Car Expert

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.