Audi's open-top R8 will go on sale early in 2017 and will be unveiled late next year
Darren Moss
19 November 2015

The second-generation Audi R8 Spyder has again been spotted testing ahead of an expected unveiling towards the end of next year.

Spyder variants of sports car models typically arrive 12-18 months after their coupé equivalents, meaning an unveiling late in 2016 - possibly in time for the LA motor show - is likely. The second-generation R8 coupé was first revealed at the Geneva motor show in March of this year. 

The biggest styling changes to the Spyder occur at the rear, where these prototypes have been fitted with a flatter rear deck in order to accommodate the folding soft-top roof. The glass panel seen on the coupé has also been removed, while new air vents to help cool the R8's V10 engine have been added.

Like the R8 Coupé, the Spyder is set to be offered in two states of tune. Power will come from a 5.2-litre V10 engine, which in standard form produces 532bhp at 8000rpm and 398lb ft at 6500rpm. In V10 Plus form, power is increased to 601bhp and 8150rpm and torque to 413lb ft - the same as the Lamborghini Huracán, with which the new R8 shares some of its components, including its chassis.

Expect the R8 Spyder to closely match its coupé sibling in terms of performance. The coupé is capable of reaching 62mph in 3.5sec and has a top speed of 201mph. In top-spec V10 Plus form, the same sprint is acheived in 3.2sec, with a top speed of 205mph. 

Power will be sent through Audi's Quattro four-wheel drive system, via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission.

By comparison, the near-£200,000 Ferrari 488 Spider gets 660bhp from its 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, is able to reach 62mph in 3.0sec and has a top speed of 203mph.

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The new Spyder is expected to use the same lightweight aluminium and carbonfibre-reinforced plastic spaceframe structure that underpins the coupé. At the coupé's launch in Geneva, Audi claimed the new structure had shaved 66kg off the car's kerb weight, meaning the the V10 Plus model weighs in at 1454kg. The German manufacturer will be looking to make similar savings for the Spyder.

Prices for the second-generation R8 Spyder are expected to rise over those of the R8 Coupé, which costs £119,500 in standard form, or £137,500 for the V10 Plus.

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