What is it?
It’s the new, ‘entry-level’ version of Audi’s drop-top R8. First launched with only the top-whack V10, the Spyder is now available with the regular 424bhp V8 motor - and a useful price saving of more than £20k. A manual V8 Spyder will cost from £95,545 - or around £7k more than a Porsche 911 Carrera 4 S Cabrio.
The V8 puts out 424bhp at a heady 7900rpm, and although there’s a bit of a weight penalty because of the added stiffening required, the R8 V8 can still hit 62mph in 4.8sec and a top speed of 186mph.
What’s it like?
Fabulous. The arrival of the Lambo-derived V10 in the range has overshadowed the R8’s 4.2-litre powerplant a little - perhaps because the more modest motor was, in essence, available in ‘lesser’, non-supercar models.
But that’s dreadfully unfair. It’s got bags of charm, with decent low-down punch and a soundtrack that’s every bit as alluring as the 911’s six-pot. Beyond 4500rpm there’s some exhaust trickery that really cranks up the volume; it’s an utter hoot in tunnels, and the ability to lower the roof to hear it better is a real plus point.
The cabin is beautifully finished and nicely laid out, and the hood installation is first-rate. No, it’s not quite as civilised as a hard-roofed R8 at motorway speeds, but it’s far from uncomfortable. And in an open-air environment it does a decent job of protecting occupants from buffeting.