Thrilling open-air motoring accompanied by the guttural roar of a mighty naturally aspirated engine – this is the essence of the Audi R8 Spyder, and the formula has lost none of its intoxicating purity in an all-new successor destined to make its debut at this week’s New York Auto Show. The latest R8 Spyder with naturally aspirated V10 power returns more technologically accomplished, more powerful and quicker against the clock, even more tightly pinned to corners and even more composed on the straights thanks to a 50 per cent improvement in torsional rigidity.
“With its spontaneous throttle response, quick revving-up and inimitable sound, the 5.2 FSI naturally aspirated engine in the new Audi R8 Spyder delivers undiluted emotion,” remarked Dr.-Ing. Stefan Knirsch, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development. “Compared to the R8 Coupé, the engine sound in the open high-performance sports car now delivers an even more intense experience.”
Typically Audi: the lightweight cloth hood
The R8 Spyder has a lightweight cloth hood tapering into two fins. These stretch the cloth so that it, along with the large hood compartment cover, harmonises perfectly with the dramatic lines of this high-performance sports car. An electro-hydraulic drive opens and closes the hood in 20 seconds up to a speed of 31mph.
The rear window, sunk into the bulkhead, can be retracted and extended. With all windows up, the air stream passes over the body with a minimum of turbulence.
Aluminium and carbon fibre components: the new Audi Space Frame
Dry, the two-seater weighs just 1,612 kilograms. Its strong backbone is the newly developed Audi Space Frame (ASF) using the multi-material construction principle, made from aluminium and carbon fibre.
The aluminum components make up 79.6 percent of its weight. In a progression from the R8 Coupé, they form a lattice that Audi’s engineers have used to incorporate specific reinforcements especially into the sills, A-pillars and windscreen frame. Innovative manufacturing methods lower the weight of individual components by up to ten percent. As a result, the highly rigid body weighs a mere 208 kilograms, and its torsional rigidity has increased by over 50 percent compared with the previous model.
Strong motorsport DNA: the V10 power unit
The mighty mid-mounted engine with dual injection system sets the tone in the new Audi R8 Spyder V10. The naturally aspirated 5.2-litre engine has a dynamic throttle response and a distinctive hard-edged soundtrack which can be amplified further by an optional sport exhaust system with gloss black tailpipe trims. 540PS of power and 540 Nm (398.3 lb-ft) of torque at 6,500 rpm deliver phenomenal road performance: from 0 to 62mph in 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 197mph. Efficiency technologies such as the new freewheeling mode, in which the R8 coasts with the engine decoupled, also boost fuel efficiency by ten percent compared with the previous Spyder. The new R8 Spyder is capable of returning up to 24.1mpg, corresponding to 277 grams CO2 per kilometre.
Stability and dynamics: quattro drive
Behind the V10 there is a seven-speed S tronic transmission with lightning-fast action, which the driver controls electrically – by wire. The dual-clutch transmission directs forces to a newly designed quattro drive system with an electro-hydraulically activated multi-plate clutch at the front axle. The all-wheel clutch, watercooled for maximum performance, distributes the drive torques fully variably according to the driving situation – in extreme cases, up to 100 percent to the front or rear wheels.
The intelligent control system is incorporated into the Audi drive select system, which offers four modes ranging from overtly dynamic to comfort-oriented. In conjunction with the optional R8 performance leather steering wheel, three more driving programs are available: dry, wet and snow. They make handling even more precise and stable, to match the specific conditions of the road being travelled.
Focus on the driver: the controls
The controls place the focus squarely on the driver, who can operate all important functions with the multifunction and satellite push-buttons without having to take their hands off the steering wheel or look away from the road. The large 12.3-inch, fully digital Audi virtual cockpit presents all information using rich 3D graphics – if desired, in a special performance view that includes driving dynamics information.
The intuitively operated MMI navigation plus with MMI touch is standard, as are belt microphones. These make it even easier to use natural-language voice control and the phone. MMI search, which makes search suggestions after input of just the first few letters, offers a shortcut to the required information.
High bandwidth: infotainment and Audi connect
With the Audi smartphone interface, a new technology makes its debut in the R8 Spyder. This makes it possible to display selected content from the smartphone directly in the Audi virtual cockpit. From the middle of this year, this option will also be available for the R8 Coupé. The Audi phone box can also be specified to connect mobile phones to the car aerial and charge them inductively. Audi connect gets the R8 Spyder on the Internet via LTE and provides a wide range of services – from online media streaming to real-time traffic information. The Bang & Olufsen Sound System is another highlight: For the first time, Audi integrates two head restraint loudspeakers into each seat, for an excellent audio experience even when driving with the hood open.
No compromises: build quality and equipment
The build quality of the new R8 Spyder, which is extensively hand-built at a manufactory near Neckarsulm, is of the highest standard. The driver and passenger sit on sport seats or bucket seats with a more highly contoured seat shape, for superior lateral support. Over and above the extensive standard equipment, customers have almost unlimited scope to tailor both the interior and exterior to their individual preferences. Body components such as the front spoiler, the diffuser and the new sideblades are also available in carbon. LED headlights with newly developed laser technology maximize visibility and range for the driver, bringing increased safety at night.