Lightweight GT version of R8 Spyder will reach UK showrooms in limited numbers from early 2012

Audi has confirmed plans to launch a lightweight, more focused GT version of its R8 Spyder in early 2012.

Pictured here in these official sketches, the R8 GT Spyder will use the same 552bhp, 398lb ft 5.2-litre V10 engine as its coupe sibling. Its top speed will be 193mph, 6mph less than the coupé.

Audi is likely to limit the soft-top GT Spyder to similar numbers as the coupé – 333, 33 of which came to the UK.

See the official sketches of the new Audi R8 GT Spyder

The car will be previewed at Le Mans in June and revealed in full at September’s Frankfurt motor show. The Le Mans launch is significant, as some of the engineering ideas proven on Audi’s R8 LMS racer are included in the road car.

In the coupé GT, power is channelled to all four wheels via a beefed-up version of Audi’s six-speed R-tronic robotised manual ’box and a viscous coupling that provides a 15 per cent front/85 per cent rear torque split as standard.

Read Autocar's first drive of the Audi R8 GT coupé

Weight savings of 95kg were made on the coupé with a new carbonfibre liftback, fixed rear wing, modified brake calipers, reduced engine-bay sound deadening and a lighter windscreen fashioned from thinner glass.

Externally the GT is distinguished by a front splitter and carbonfibre ‘winglets’ on the corners of the front bumper. Standard R8 chrome features are remade in matt grey. Inside, there are unique R8 GT instrument graphics, a newly designed shift lever, a liberal splashing of Alcantara and unique door sills.

See all the latest Audi R8 reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

It may not have a posh badge, but when it comes to what really matters the R8 has what it takes to hold its head high among supercar rivals

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