Supercar buyers really have it tough these days.
Sarcasm aside, for those who can afford to drop six figures on a car for weekends (or perhaps even more rare), there are more choices than ever for boasting to your country club buddies about a top speed above 200 mph or power figures that would make even the most hardcore horsepower junkies of the 60s and 70s blush.
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But on top of that, you’ve got to pick what kind of package you want all this performance to come wrapped in.
Take your pick: 8, 10, or 12 cylinders. Now, front- or mid-engined? Rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive?
Fortunately, Audi has a solution for those looking seeking 10 cylinders, four driven wheels, and limitless headroom in the form of the 2017 R8 V10 Spyder, and hot diggity damn is it spectacular.
While we knew the drop-top version of the car that skyrocketed Audi to international fame would get a reprise just as the coupe did a few years back, that doesn’t make the news any less tantalizing, or the sheer numbers any less impressive.
Let’s start with the heart of the beast: that glorious 5.2-liter V10 under the rear cowl of the R8 Spyder, which shares its origins with the Lamborghini Huracán, making 540 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque and wailing all the way up to an ear-splitting 8,700 rpm.
Power is routed to all four wheels via Audi’s famous Quattro all-wheel-drive system, and the only transmission available is a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, shared with the coupe version.
While its design, inside and out, doesn’t differ greatly from the coupe upon which it’s based, the Spyder exhibits the same elegance as its predecessor with sharpened features, but thankfully, awesome design cues like the massive rear decklid and off-color side blade remain.
What is new, though, is the soft top, which uses an electrohydraulic system to raise and lower the roof in only 20 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph. The whole soft top system only weighs 97 extra pounds, so you’re not sacrificing much in the way of performance by opting to have the wind in your hair.
Sixty miles per hour takes just 3.5 seconds – yes, even with the top down – and the top speed is just shy of the double century mark at 198 mph, but if you’re doing that speed (on a closed course, we beg of you), you damn well better bring a closed-face helmet.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what makes this feat of engineering a true luxury item too, and the R8 Spyder delivers in that department as well, with fine leather and Alcantara upholstery, available 4G LTE Wi-Fi, a fully digital Virtual Cockpit display, and Audi’s suite of connected apps. Go ahead, have your cake and eat it too. Hell, buy the whole bakery at this point.
The R8 Spyder goes on sale later this year at a starting MSRP of $175,100, so start saving yesterday if you want one. I know I will.
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