The Audi R8 Spyder V10 will go on sale in certain European markets tomorrow, with prices starting at €179,000 in Germany, which equates to about £149,992.
Audi is yet to reveal a date for the opening of UK order books however, and a quick call to Audi's flagship London dealer confirms the sale date has been pushed back, most likely to some time later this summer. So far the estimate from insiders for UK pricing is around £130,000, which is £10,500 more than the R8 Coupé.
When the mid-engined drop-top does eventually go on sale here, it will go head-to-head with the recently facelifted Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, which starts at £135,766.
The Spyder is expected to account for 25% of R8 sales in total in the UK.
The 2016 R8 Spyder is based on a modified version of the R8’s aluminium and carbonfibre spaceframe body structure, which uses added strengthening within the A-pillars, windscreen surround and sills to offset its lack of a fixed roof structure.
Audi claims a 50% increase in overall rigidity and 113kg reduction in kerb weight over its predecessor, which was launched in 2009.
Wider and shorter than predecessor
At 4426mm long, 1940mm wide and 1244mm tall, the new Audi is 14mm shorter and 36mm wider than the previous R8 Spyder and the same height. Despite the altered dimensions, it continues to ride on the same 1650mm wheelbase as before.
Its fully automatic roof features two tapering buttresses that extend back over the engine cover at the rear, mimicking the styling treatment of its fixed-head sibling. It opens and closes in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. The fabric structure folds beneath a dedicated tonneau cover behind the two-seat cabin when stowed. The glass rear window can also be automatically extended and retracted within the rear bulkhead.
The R8 Spyder is powered by the same mid-mounted, naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine as the R8; it produces 532bhp. With a claimed kerb weight of 1612kg, this provides the new Audi with a power-to-weight ratio of 330bhp per tonne. Torque peaks at 398lb ft.
All this power is channelled through a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and electro-hydraulically operated multi-plated clutch four-wheel-drive system with a locking rear differential.
Only 0.1sec slower than R8 Coupé
Audi claims a 0-62mph time of just 3.6sec and 198mph top speed for the R8 Spyder – just 0.1sec and 3mph slower than the 158kg lighter R8 Coupé.
A host of fuel-saving features, including a coasting feature that idles the engine on a trailing throttle, contributes to a claimed 10% improvement in combined fuel economy over the first-generation R8 Spyder, which has official fuel economy of 24.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 277g/km.
A second variant of the R8 Spyder, sporting the more powerful, 601bhp version of the 5.2-litre V10 used in the R8 Plus, is expected to join the line-up by the end of 2016.