A year since the unveiling of the second generation Audi R8 supercar got chins wagging and camera shutters clicking in Geneva, it’s time to herald the triumphant return of another staple of the R8 stable. We talk of course of the imminent arrival of the all-new Audi R8 Spyder at the 2016 New York Auto Show.
Quite literally from the top, let’s begin with the R8 Spyder’s new lightweight fabric hood. Fully retractable in just 20 seconds, the soft-top can be deployed or stowed at speeds of up to 31mph. Tapering down into two fins towards the rear, the roofline imitates the gentle slant of the Coupé’s fastback tail when up. Meanwhile, the rear window, sunk into the bulkhead, can also be retracted for top down driving.
More slim-lined than ever – the 2016 version weighs in at just 1,612 kilograms thanks to its aluminium and carbon fibre architecture – the new Spyder sheds up to ten percent of its bulk over the outgoing model. In adding to the considerable weight saving, Audi also claim’s its new and improved spaceframe is over 50 percent more ridged than before.
As expected, the rip-roaring mid-mounted V10 engine returns to the fold. This naturally aspirated 5.2-litre beast packs 533bhp of punch and delivers 398.3 lb/ft of torque whilst funnelling that same R8 Coupé soundtrack straight into the Spyder’s open-top cabin. Hammer down the throttle and the V10 Spyder will gallop from 0 to 62mph in 3.6 seconds up to a top speed of 197mph.
What’s more, if our hunch is anything to go by, there could well be an even brisker Spyder variant on offer before the year is out. This would entail transplanting the V10 Plus’s boosted 602bhp unit into the new Spyder, an enticing and very plausible proposition that could yield a near-3.0 second 0-62 sprint time.
The new R8’s slick-shifting seven-speed S tronic gearbox is back for the Spyder model, with this water-cooled dual-clutch transmission directing power to all four wheels via the standard quattro drive system.
In addition to the R8’s existing quartet of drive modes, a new freewheeling setting decouples the engine to allow the car to coast at low speeds and save up to 10 percent on fuel efficiency compared with the previous Spyder. As if that wasn’t already ample choice, three more driving programs are available and tailored specifically to dry, wet or snowy road conditions.
Beneath the retractable soft-top, you’ll find such goodies as the optional R8 performance leather steering wheel and Audi’s 12.3-inch 3D virtual cockpit infotainment interface. Audi connect gets the R8 Spyder online via Wi-Fi, giving access to media streaming and real-time traffic info on the go. The Bang & Olufsen Sound System is another highlight and now comes with added head rest loudspeakers on each seat, meaning you can enjoy your playlist even with the top down.
Design-wise, the new Spyder is not a great departure from the latest gen R8 Coupé, revealed at last year’s Geneva Motor Show. Body components such as the front spoiler, the diffuser and the trademark R8 sideblades are available in carbon fibre whilst the V10 Spyder’s LED headlights are embedded with cutting-edge laser technology. An optional sports exhaust system with gloss black tailpipe trims can be specified, as is the case with the all-new Argus brown body colour.
The brand-new Audi R8 Spyder takes its international bow stateside at the 2016 New York Auto Show this week. Order books in the UK open up this spring.