Audi R8 Spy­der V10 Plus

Mar­que’s hottest drop-top fi­nally joins the 600bhp club

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - RICHARD LANE @_r­lane_

Open-air R8 gets 600bhp

Those of a shy dis­po­si­tion will ab­hor the sug­ges­tion, but we’d wa­ger that all but the most stead­fastly in­tro­verted Au­to­car read­ers would even­tu­ally give in to the charms of Audi’s top-billing R8 Spy­der: the new V10 Plus.

Lower the fab­ric roof and en­gage Dy­namic driv­ing mode along with the op­tional sports ex­haust – your right foot will do the rest, as it in­vol­un­tar­ily sends the most soul­ful se­ries-pro­duc­tion pow­er­plant on sale to its ear-split­ting 8700rpm fi­nale at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. Lift­ing out of the throt­tle of­fers no respite, func­tion­ing as lit­tle more than a cue for the mid-mounted engine to drench the ex­haust man­i­fold with fuel. The re­sul­tant pops and bangs are deca­dent and dis­or­derly.

So what, th­es­pian an­tics aside, does an ad­di­tional £25,000 or so over the en­try-level R8 Spy­der get you? In­creases of 69bhp and 15lb ft, a 25kg weight sav­ing, car­bon-ce­ramic brakes, sports seats and no short­age of carbonfibre trim, in­side and out. The big­gest vis­ual dif­fer­en­tia­tor is a sweep­ing gur­ney flap on the trail­ing edge of the rear deck, though our test car is also pre­sented in hand­some Mon­terey Green (£3400).

In­creased prox­im­ity to the 5.2-litre V10 Plus engine – stub­bornly, won­der­fully at­mo­spheric as its ri­vals bolt for the tur­bos – is prob­a­bly rea­son enough to buy this car, which is just as well, be­cause it can be dif­fi­cult to make a case for it as a se­ri­ous tool for en­thu­si­asts. For one, mov­ing the rear bulk­head for­ward to ac­com­mo­date the roof mech­a­nism means the seats will go ad­e­quately low or they will ex­tend ad­e­quately far back, but they will not do both. The light steer­ing, mer­ci­lessly stiff chas­sis (even with our car’s op­tional mag­netic ride set to Com­fort, ad­vis­able at all times on Bri­tish roads) and over-ser­voed brakes also mean you can’t al­ways lean on an un­set­tled front axle with the con­fi­dence you’d like. That doesn’t par­tic­u­larly mat­ter in the dry, where the quat­tro driv­e­train de­vel­ops al­most un­break­able grip and trac­tion, but on damp roads it can be un­nerv­ing. This car is some way off match­ing the richly com­mu­nica­tive carbonfibre-tubbed chas­sis of the Mclaren 570S Spi­der.

And yet, drop-top supercars are so of­ten bought on grounds of char­ac­ter be­fore ca­pa­bil­ity, and very lit­tle on the public road howls like the V10 Plus Spy­der does. It’s also dis­turbingly fast, ex­tremely use­able and can, if you’re feel­ing shy, go com­par­a­tively incog­nito. It’s a unique propo­si­tion.

At £7000, di­a­mond-stitched Co­gnac Brown in­te­rior won’t be for ev­ery­one

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