Audi has unveiled its latest convertible super sports car - the R8 Spyder.
Revealed at Audi City in London, the latest open-air R8 is not only more powerful and quicker against the clock, but also even more ‘tightly pinned’ to the road thanks in part to a 50 per cent improvement in torsional rigidity.
The Spyder’s lightweight hood tapers into two fins that stretch the cloth so that the roof ‘harmonises perfectly’ with the lines of the high-performance sports car. Opening and closure is fully automated, and at speeds of up to 31mph the hood can be concealed beneath the integral cover and reattached in 20 seconds. The rear window, sunk into the bulkhead, can also be retracted and extended at the touch of a button.
The second-gen R8 Spyder sits on a newly developed multi-material Audi Space Frame (ASF) which incorporates a mix of aluminium and carbon fibre, helping keep dry weight down to 1,612kg. Aluminium components make up a fraction under 80 per cent of the weight while torsional rigidity has been boosted by over 50 per cent compared with the previous model.
The mid-mounted V10 retains the 'purity of natural aspiration' but adds advanced features such as dual injection and a freewheeling mode which enables it to ‘decouple’ whenever possible to optimise response and improve fuel economy by ten per cent, says Audi. 540PS of power and 540 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm deliver a 0 to 62mph time of 3.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 197mph. The convertible is also capable of returning up to 24.1mpg, corresponding to 277 grams CO2 per kilometre.
Behind the V10 there is a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission delivering ‘lightning-fast shifts’, as it channels power to a newly designed quattro drive system with an electro-hydraulically activated multi-plate clutch at the front axle. It can distribute drive fully variably according to the situation, and in extreme cases can transfer up to 100 percent to the front or rear wheels.
Audi says the new R8 Spyder is largely hand-built at a special facility near Neckarsulm, Germany, and is of the ‘highest standard’. 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 can be added as an alternative to the standard all-LED headlights to maximise visibility and range for the driver, bringing increased safety at night.
The all-new Audi R8 Spyder will be available to order later this spring with first examples set to reach UK customers in late 2016.