Review: Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus

Review: Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus
Review: Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus

There are some surprising oversights but they don’t stop Audi’s stunning drop-top appealing

You could save yourself £25,000 by buying a basic Audi R8 Spyder instead of this all-singing £130,000 V10 range-topper. But the dealer will have one compelling reasons for you not to: an extra 69bhp, and thus, the ability to boast of more than 600bhp under the control of your right foot. Tempting, huh?

It means this drop-top has the performance of a McLaren 720S. It also has a massive rear diffuser and gurney flap, that give it 100kg of rear downforce at its braggable top speed of 203mph. Carbon ceramic brakes help slow it down and there’s more carbon fibre dotted around both outside and in. The eye-catching Monterey Green paint and Cognac Brown leather interior of our test car, however, costs more than £10,000 extra…

Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus

Price £147,020
Engine 5204cc, V10, petrol
Power 602bhp at 8250rpm
Torque 413lb ft at 6500rpm
Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
Kerbweight 1695kg
Top speed 203mph
0-62mph 3.3sec
Fuel economy 22.6mpg
CO2 rating 292g/km
Rivals Porsche Turbo S Cabriolet, McLaren 570S Spider

There are various different engine modes, so naturally, we defaulted to the spicy Dynamic mode, let the sports exhaust sing and, with the roof down, went for a blast. Quickly concluding this is an exceptional engine, particularly at its 8700rpm rev limit. It’s borderline disorderly at times, and almost always fantastic; the spectacle is as dramatic as the 3.3-second 0-62mph time.

The S-tronic paddleshift gearbox seems to succumb to this at times, sometimes changing down with over-eager haste; the explosion in noise when it does so can be surprising. But we can forgive it this, given how gorgeous the engine is at all times.

What’s harder to forgive is the car’s poor driving position. You have a choice of seating position that is either not low enough, or don’t move far back enough – blame the compromises needed to house that complex roof-fold mechanism. It’s a surprise in such an expensive car, leaving enthusiastic drivers with a compromised driving position.

They also may not warm to the over-light steering and far too over-stiff ride, while the brakes are also too light and thus hard to modulate smoothly. At least there’s ample grip from the massive tyres and quattro drivetrain to soak up any resultant clumsiness. There’s no doubting this is a less exacting, less feedback-filled car than the purist-bred McLaren 570S Spider – mind you, in fairness, the same could be said for most of the Audi’s rivals.

And potential owners are not likely to care all that much. They don’t buy cars like this for the ultimate in driving thrills, they buy them because they look good, sound dramatic and go faster than almost anything else on the road. The V10 Plus Spyder oozes character and is incandescently fast, easily justifying its heady price tag in the eyes of many buyers.

Indeed, compared to arguably its key arch rival, the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder, it could even be called a bargain – the Lambo costs over £205,000, making it easy to argue that buy choosing the V10 Plus, you’re actually saving yourself a fortune. For some, that’ll be all the excuse they need.

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