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.

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.

Top 5 Convertibles

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Audi range

Driven this week

  • Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI 4Motion front view
    First Drive
    17 February 2017
    Latest Passat Alltrack is one of the best examples of that most inoffensive of things, the all-seasons estate
  • 2017 Hyundai i30 1.0 T-GDi 120 SE Nav front view
    First Drive
    17 February 2017
    A UK drive in the Hyundai i30 reveals a rounded and capable hatchback, but not one to challenge the class best
  • Peugeot 5008
    First Drive
    16 February 2017
    Handsome seven-seater offers a smart interior with certain key practicality benefits, but it’s a slightly mixed bag to drive.
  • Car review
    15 February 2017
    The fifth-gen Discovery is simply one of the world's most capable cars, even with the addition of a 2.0-litre engine
  • Tesla Model X
    Car review
    15 February 2017
    The electric propulsion pioneer takes aim at the seven-seat SUV market