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Audi reveals its 412kW R8 ragtop

2011-06-06 13:26

WINGED WONDER: Is this worth a 25% price premium over Lamborghini’s LP 570-4 Spyder Performante? Image gallery

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Audi
Model R8 GT Spyder
Engine 5.2-litre V10
Power 412kW @ 8 700rpm
Torque 540Nm @ 6 500rpm
Transmission Six-speed
Zero To Hundred 3.8 sec
Back in May 2010, when Audi revealed its (for now) ultimate road-going supercar, few people could see any probable demand for a soft-top version of the R8 GT.

Powered by a modified version of the R8’s 5.2-litre long-stroke V10, with peak power output swelling past the magic 400kW threshold to 412kW, Audi's limited-edition R8 is the most focused road-going performance car the brand's built.

Ingolstadt’s engineers, thanks to a raft of neatly crafted carbon-fibre bits, managed to melt away 100kg of weight, trimming he R8 GT’s licensing mass from 1625- to 1525kg.

Beyond the weight reduction, dynamic poise and agility benefits further from manually adjustable coil-over suspension at each wheel corner, a 10mm ride height reduction and more generous fore and aft wheel camber rates.


All things considered, it would seem this GT-affixed R8 coupe is very much Audi’s marquee product offering. Or is it? Perhaps not...

If you like your German supercars capable of fielding all the vocal attention (and ridicule) only a retractable roof can provide, Audi’s now happy to oblige with a soft-top version of the R8 GT. Enthusiasts will scoff at this GT Spyder being a prime example of Audi’s marketing staff managing to prioritise product planning in favour of the engineering department’s quest for dynamic design purity, the new R8 GT Spyder is very much a German Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante - if that is what you're after...

Audi’s weight-saving regime has cut 85kg from the stock R8 V10 Spyder’s rolling mass, although it remains heavier (at 1640kg) than the R8 GT coupe (1525kg) and sibling brand Lamborghini’s LP 570 Spyder Performante (1486kg).


Despite the Italian car being lighter by 154kg and seven kW keener (with its 5.2-litre V10 peaking at 419kW), the R8 GT Spyder’s benchmark 0-100km/h sprint time is a tenth quicker (3.8sec) and, with its soft-top in place, the Audi is good for a top speed of 317km/h (versus the Lamborghini’s 323km/h).

As is the case with R8 GT coupe, purists expecting an open-gate shift-guide will be disappointed to learn the R8 GT will only be available with Audi’s six-speed R-Tronic sequential manual, which isn’t the company’s best transmission when you're cruising around in auto mode.

Styling upgrades for the R8 GT Spyder copy the coupe, with a dual-lip spoiler underscoring the grille, composite winglets tracing the edges of the bumper, an elaborate rear diffuser and darkened LED tail lights.

The R8 GT has signature alloy rims, too, hiding carbon-ceramic brake rotors whose diameter is 380mm up front and 356mm at the rear.


Inside, it’s a world of Alcantara contrasted by white-faced dials and featuring glass-reinforced plastic bucket seats, accounting for a 31.5kg weight-saving each.

Though tremendously fast, achingly pretty and with the promise of "beautifully built", Audi will only assemble 333 R8 GT Spyder units - exclusivity ensured. If you like your limited-edition German supercars mid-engined with soft-top convertibility, well, this is your only choice.

Indicative pricing positions the R8 GT at a 25% premium over its Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante sibling and rival.

Worth it? Probably.

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