Audi will soon launch the new R8 V10 Spyder at an estimated price of Rs 2.5 crore in India. A supercar in every sense, the R8 Spyder is ‘topless’, shorter and wider than the car it replaces. Stiffer, lighter and faster, the supercar has its entire aluminium-carbon fibre hybrid space reworked to achieve high strength. Weighing 125kg more than the R8 coupé despite its carbon-fibre engine cover and a fuel tank that holds three litres less, the supercar with a kerb weight of 1720kg scores high on torsional rigidity.
Looking dramatic with a low slung appearance and a rather mean and aggressive looking front, the R8 Spyder has its fabric roof fold away electrically in less than 20 seconds, and at speeds up to 50kmph. While the laser lights are optional, and increase the range of the high beams, a part of the engine cover of the supercar at the rear accommodates the fabric roof as its folds.
Power and speed
The engine cover has two silver stripes with multiple vents running lengthwise, and cannot be opened to look at the V10 motor under it. A mid-ship layout, the supercar flaunts massive air intakes on the sides. Located behind the seats, the 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 motor produces a whopping 540bhp of peak power and 540Nm of peak torque. Producing 15bhp more than the supercar it replaces, the R8 Spyder moves away with the ferocity of a wild cat. Capable of clocking 0 to 100km in 3.6 seconds, three-digit speeds come naturally to this supercar. The fact that it can climb to 200kmph in a mere 11.8 seconds should provide a good idea. The top speed is claimed to be 318kmph.
Press the pedal firmly in the dynamic mode, and the supercar roars. Lift off and the exhaust pops and crackles in style. The exhaust and engine note combine to create a blissful symphony. With the roof down, you can hear the screaming exhaust of the R8 Spyder which commands attention like no other. A button on the steering wheel lets the driver choose between a screaming exhaust and a rather sober note; either is achieved without sacrificing performance.
Negotiating Twisty Turns
The electro-mechanical steering weighs up nicely in the dynamic mode, and feels more direct. The magnetic dampers (optional) firm up the ride. The seven-speed dual clutch transmission turns more responsive. Rather than the D and S modes, the steering wheel paddles aid in exploiting the motor. The revised quattro all-wheel drive system with a water-cooled electro-hydraulic clutch for the front axle, and a mechanical locking differential at the rear, is instrumental in the R8 Spyder exhibiting superior traction as well as grip.
The supercar stays planted when pushed through corners at speeds on a twisty mountain road. It simply shrinks around the driver, and is a lot less intimidating to drive. Apart from the drive modes, the R8 Spyder comes with optional drive performance programmes set by pressing the chequered flag button on the steering and then rotating the knurled metal dial around it. Three settings --- dry, wet and snow --- are on offer. They accordingly and precisely tweak the response of the vital organs of the supercar.
To get the most out of the motor, Audi has added an indirect-injection system. It squirts fuel into the intake manifold at lower rpm to provide a strong low rpm thrust. The direct injection comes into play as the rpm rises to the mid-range. At the top, over 85 per cent of the fuelling is by direct injection. Apart from cylinder deactivation, the coasting feature disengages both the clutches in the transmission for the supercar to free wheel if the driver lifts his foot off the accelerator at speeds above 55kmph. Claimed to average 8kmpl, the R8 Spyder flaunts a driver-centric interior. The controls and knobs tilt towards the driver. There is no centrally mounted infotainment screen. Instead there is a 12.3-inch TFT display that replaces the traditional instrument cluster. It is called the Audi Virtual Cockpit, and displays the speedometer, distance, GPS route navigation and a host of other info. A highly enjoyable supercar the R8 Spyder is. It has an extreme performance quotient and offers a rich aural experience. Capable of being driven every day, the Audi R8 V10 Spyder is one supercar to watch out.
Pros: Supercar experience, performance, open-air motoring, aural experience, handling, technology