New spin on Spyder
TRADEMARKS of Audi’s first supercar have been tossed out in the new R8 Spyder.
Gone is the distinguishing carbonfibre sideplate that made it instantly recognisable and gone is the visible engine under the glass hatch that attracted salivadrooling schoolboys.
These changes were necessary to accommodate the rag top.
Audi eschews the trendy move to metal folding roofs with their complexity, added weight and space restrictions.
Despite the lightweight rag top, aluminium space frame and more carbonfibre body panels, the Spyder is 100kg heavier than the coupe yet still quite rigid.
Audi Australia managing director Uwe Hagen expects to sell about 50-60 a year ‘‘in the beginning and hopefully more in future’’.
‘‘We are entering a completely new area,’’ he said.
‘‘In some points it’s like a toy.
‘‘It’s normally not a car you would use every day. ‘‘But the auto transmission is good for every day so you don’t get a weak left leg from a heavy clutch.’’ PRICING Hagen said the Spyder will compete against convertibles from Aston, Maserati and the Benz SL.
At $376,100 for the manual and $392,000 for the R tronic transmission, it’s less than the Aston DB9 Volante ($389,389 manual, $398,128 auto), but more than the Maserati Grancabrio ($338,000) and Benz SL 500 ($331,350).
It comes standard with 19-inch alloys, B&O sound system, Bluetooth, electric-adjusted heated Nappa leather seats, LED headlights, camera parking system, anti-theft alarm and satnav.
The Bluetooth interface has three microphones in the seatbelts so your voice can still be heard when the roof is open. Options include bigger wheels ($1483), bucket seats ($9100), ceramic brakes ($25,422), extra leather ($8700) and carbonfibre interior inlays ($5720). TECHNOLOGY Audi Australia product planning manager John Roberts said the R8 Spyder is ‘‘not just a version of the coupe’’, but a substantially different car.
The most obvious difference is the roof which weighs 42kg and has a lightweight carbonfibre cover, a compact Z-fold design and extended fins to retain the coupe roofline.
The rear glass window is separate to the roof and when the roof is down, it rises part of the way to act as a wind break.
There is another wind break in the snug 100L luggage compartment.
The Spyder has a 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 that scorches to highway speed in 4.1 seconds.
It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox.