There’s no sign yet of Audi R8 development slowing down. What started only as a V8 coupé became a V8 or V10 coupé, and then came the soft-topped variant, initially available only with the same V10 engine as you’ll find in the coupé (and, with slight differences, the Lamborghini Gallardo).

Predictably, a V8-powered Spyder came along later, to complete the set.

Road tester
Audi has opted for a cloth hood rather than the metal option

Cutting the roof clean off a coupé, however, is a process fraught with potential drama. Inevitably, a car’s weight will increase in an effort to retain some of the torsional rigidity that the metal roof would give it.

And there is no replacement metal here; Audi has opted for a cloth hood rather than the folding metal option preferred by Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari.

Our test R8 arrives in what is effectively ‘base’ Spyder spec – with a stick-shift manual gearbox and shorn of options.