The Audi R8 is a collection of impossible things. It is a performance behemoth yet as refined as a luxury saloon. It is a mid-engined supercar yet is practical. It is German but reframes from being stereotypically sterile. When the four rings later decided to laden the astonishing car with a 5.2 litre it quite simply became one of the best cars on sale at any time in history. Now summer is in the city and as temperatures rise well above toasty nothing gave us more pleasure than sampling the R8 V10 Spyder. In essence it is the very same car as its coupe sibling but what effect has cutting its head off had?
A major problem with creating a convertible from a car that was originally designed to be a hard-top is that you remove one of the most structurally integral parts of the car. The result is all to often a great car ruined by extra weight and handling that can be likened to wrestling a moose up a tight staircase. Audi have attempted to reduce this rather unwanted trait by adding extra chassis support and some carbon fibre body panels. The rag top may be 100KG heavier than the coupe but the performance figures from that 5.2 litre V10 do a very good job of brushing the laws of physics aside. 0-62MPH is completed in a rapid 4.1 seconds and the Spyders top speed of 194MPH is by no means sluggish.
The fabric roof can complete the R8’s transformation in just under 19 seconds and if you have the unfortunate luck of being caught out by the British weather, the transition can be made on the move providing you are under 30MPH. Now a fairly obvious side effect of having the roof down is the increase in general noise. Not that I am complaining as most of it is produced in a glorious fashion by the howling V10. The sound is incredible as at low revs it emits a rather growly tone that is enough to scare innocent bystanders into a state of alert but let all 10 pistons come out to play and the symphony is nothing short of epic!
The R8 is all-wheel-drive but thanks to various onboard systems that only Stephen Hawking could explain, the balance of the machine is as precise as a decimal point. Make no mistakes this is a big car but it darts through corners with the agility of a mosquito and seemingly never ending levels of grip. It is so incredibly manageable and composed at all times. So much so that words need to be invented to describe just how good the handling is. The car is equipped with a proper 6 speed manual that so satisfying to use that it would be a crime if you chose the R Tronic flappy paddles. This car flatters you and then rewards you further the more you punish it. But once you have finished being a hooligan and decided that the tyres have had enough torture for one day you can relax and drive home in German luxury. The seats that were holding you in place firmly whilst the engine propelled you towards the horizon now hug you in comfort. The lavish upholstery really does make this feel like a car that is worth £112,000. Better still there is a usable boot that you can fit more than just socks in! Unlike many supercars of this caliber the Audi R8 Spyder can also achieve an impressive 16 MPG meaning you need not feel too guilty about killing the polar bears.
What you get from this car is something that is usable everyday and not something just to bring out for a Sunday drive. Just like the coupe it is an utter joy in motion be it bumbling along an A-road or testing your bravery, this machine never ceases to impress. It such a complete product with no real flaws worth mentioning. I said that the coupe was “the most complete car I have had the pleasure if reviewing.” Well I was wrong… The Spyder adds an extra level of engagement and by being every bit as good as its fixed roof counterpart becomes one of the best investments in motoring you could make.