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Audi R8

R8 Spyder

Audi logo1 Oct 2010

TOP-DOWN motoring became a little more alluring in Australia with the arrival – just in time for summer 2010 – of the 313km/h cabriolet version of Audi’s R8 mid-engined supercar, the R8 Spyder.

The snarling German glamourpuss set a new high-price watermark for the Audi range in Australia at $392,000 for the automatic version – $28,600 more than the previous range-topper, the V10-powered R8 Coupe on which it was based and more than $100,000 dearer than the most affordable Audi R8, the V8-powered R8 4.2 FSI.

Unlike the R8 Coupe, which came with a choice of 4.2-litre V8 or 5.2-litre V10 FSI engines, the Spyder launched with only the bigger engine (that is sourced from Volkswagen stable-mate, Lamborghini).

Generating the same 386kW of power at 8000rpm and 530Nm of torque at 6500rpm, this engine cranked the aluminium and carbon-fibre 1720kg sports car from standstill to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds – 0.2s slower than the slightly lighter R8 V10 coupe.

The top speed of 313km/h was slightly slower than that of the coupe.

While the aluminium space-frame body was strengthened to account for the loss of the roof, the Spyder's aluminium and carbon-fibre body weighed just 216kg – a mere 6kg more than the coupe.

As well, Audi chose a lightweight (46kg) fabric roof instead of a folding metal top for the Spyder. Powered by an electro-hydraulic motor, the roof was said to open or close in just 19 seconds, even while driving at up to 50km/h.

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