The al fresco version of the Audi R8 Coupé supercar and the first model to launch under the newly-christened Audi Sport department (Audi Quattro GmbH was renamed Audi Sport at last month’s Paris Motor Show).
The R8 Spyder features the same four-wheel drivetrain and seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission as its coupé sibling, but has undergone significant body strengthening to compensate for the loss of rigidity that’s created when you chop off any car’s roof.
The showpiece remains a naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 that lives beneath a louvred carbonfibre cover and develops 533bhp at 7800rpm – 69bhp shy of the hyper-styled, mechanically similar and fiscally punchier Lamborghini Huracán Spyder
The three-layer fabric roof is available in three colours – black, brown and red – and is able to unfurl in 20 seconds at speeds up to 31mph. It benefits from a retractable rear glass window that can be operated independently.
Standard equipment includes leather seats, electrically adjustable heated seats, sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, front and rear parking sensors, climate control and a 12.3-inch digital screen that Audi calls its ‘virtual cockpit’. This replaces the traditional dials you’d normally find in your instrument binnacle with a screen that can be customised to display a variation of speedometer, tachometer, navigation, radio, phone and fuel settings.
Huge, ventilated steel disc brakes and 19-inch alloys are standard issue, but the options on our Vegas Yellow test car included 20-inch, 10-spoke ‘Y’ alloys (£2,350), fade free carbon ceramic discs (£7,700) and Laser Lights (£3,150) that are said to offer brighter illumination than LED headlamps. You’d hope so for that additional outlay…