The Spyder is all but identical to the second-generation R8 coupe from the rocker panels up to the belt line. Above that, it features a multi-layer cloth soft top that opens or closes at the push of a button in 20 seconds, even at speeds of up to 31 mph. Available in black, brown, or red, the top flows into a pair of fins that give the Spyder a distinctive appearance.
The R8 Spyder is fitted with a virtual cockpit, which is Audi lingo for the digital and fully configurable instrument cluster that was inaugurated a few years ago by the third-generation TT. The 12.3-inch screen can be configured to show a variety of information about the car and its surroundings, including acceleration and lateral forces, as well as navigation directions and connectivity options. The virtual cockpit makes the traditional dash-mounted screen obsolete, giving the R8 a clean, crisp-looking center console that’s oriented towards the driver.
Audi hasn’t made any major mechanical modifications. Like the coupe, the R8 Spyder is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine that delivers 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission transfers the ten-cylinder’s grunt to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. The Spyder hits 62 mph from a stop in 3.6 seconds, 124 mph from a stop in 11.8 seconds, and it goes on to a top speed of close to 200 mph.
Weight checks in at 3,553 pounds, a figure that makes the ragtop nearly 500 pounds heavier than its fixed-roof counterpart. Audi’s cylinder-on-demand technology turns the V10 into a straight-five under partial load, which boosts fuel economy to 20 mpg in a mixed European cycle.
The 2017 Audi R8 Spyder will be built alongside the coupe on the outskirts of Neckarsulm, Germany. Pricing information and availability haven’t been announced yet.
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