Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
5 minute read
22 Jun 2017
10:32 am

Audi R8 Spyder V10’s a supercar in every way

Mark Jones

The car is light, with an electro-hydraulic convertible top, weighing in at just 44kg.

If I was spending a few million rand plus on a two-seater road car, one non-negotiable would be that every time I roll open the garage door and fire up my car, it must put a smile on my face.

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And this the Audi R8 Spyder V10 does each and every time. There is the design, and Audi go into elaborate detail when they say the horizontal lines characterise the front view, as does the wide and low single frame with its honeycomb grille.

Sculpted surfaces connect it to the wedge-shaped headlights.

The contours above the wheels are a cue to the quattro drive; the sideblades, which have been updated from the previous model, set bold accents.

The concept of emphasised horizontals also gives the rear a wide, athletic look. Trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes, flank a diffuser with vertical ribs. The engine compartment vents and the LED rear lights refer visually to one another; the forked contours of the lights create a distinctive red light signature.

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Each rear light includes 118 individual LEDs that produce an absolutely homogeneous light, and there are 37 light-emitting diodes in each of the headlights of the R8 Spyder that produce a bright LED light.

The aluminium tank cap bears an embossed logo and after opening the cap, you can insert the fuel nozzle directly into the tank neck. Just like with a racing car, there is no fuel cap to unscrew. And on that racing car cue, it’s time to talk about what really makes this Audi R8 Spyder special.

The car is light, with the electro-hydraulic convertible top, which opens and closes in 20 seconds up to 50km/h, weighing in at just 44kg, along with the multi-material Audi Space Frame that combines aluminium components with components made of structurally integrated carbon fibre-reinforced polymer.

This translates into an R8 that is significantly better in all criteria, some of which are torsional rigidity, improved by 50%, and vibration dampening.

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And we know what this means, a sharper, better handling car. The state of the art drivetrain also plays its part as it combines three high-tech components: a seven-speed S tronic, a newly developed, fully variable multi-plate clutch and a locking differential.

The ultra-compact and lightning-fast seven-speed S tronic is placed behind the V10 engine, and commands are transmitted electrically by wire.

And as to be expected you can shift gears manually using the gear selector lever or the shift paddles on the steering wheel.

Or you can have the box do all the shifting for you automatically in the D or S program. And one of the biggest improvements for me over the older car is the completely redesigned quattro drive, it completely transforms the drive of the R8, no more of that horrible push the nose understeer when you wanted it least.

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Its heart is an electronically controlled and electro-hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch that is integrated into the front axle transmission and is connected to the engine cooling circuit for maximum performance. Unlike the component used previously, the clutch regulates the drive torque variably.

The all-wheel drive software continuously computes the ideal distribution of torque to the axles for the given situation as a function of the driving situation, driver input and ambient conditions.

Up to 100 percent of the power can flow to the front or rear axle, for instance.

During fast cornering, the wheel-selective torque control, an intelligent software function of the electronic stabilisation program, uses targeted, minor braking interventions at the inside wheels to make handling even more stable and fluid.

Management of the multi-plate clutch is integrated into the driving dynamics system Audi drive select, which offers the four modes comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. The mechanical rear axle differential further improves traction and handling. It has a locking effect of 25 percent during engine traction operation and 45 percent during engine overrun.

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It is precisely tuned for the dynamic character of the new R8 Spyder and the actively controlled quattro drive.

Then you have probably the best sounding production engine on the road today, lurking just behind you, waiting to do your high performance bidding.

And for those that can afford it, you better enjoy it, because sadly these large capacity naturally aspirated engines are rapidly being replaced by smaller capacity turbocharged units with electric assistance.

Sure the new electrically-assisted supercars are already, and going to become even quicker, but nothing beats the sound of a 5.2-litre V10 high revving naturally aspirated engine in full cry.

And full cry here delivers 397kW of power and 540Nm of torque. Thanks to launch control the 0-100km/h sprint is done in 4.06 seconds, the quarter mile done in 12.27 seconds, the 1km hit at 249km/h and the top speed is 308km/h.

And it has some of the best brakes on a supercar in the form of the optional lightweight carbon fibre-ceramic brake discs.

These measure 380mm in diameter at the front, and 356mm at the back, as well as being 15.2kg lighter than their steel counterparts.

The inside is also a special place; you sit low like you should, with all the important controls being focused on the driver.

So, even at a starting price of R2 905 500, the Audi R8 Spyder V10 is a stunning-looking machine, and it comes with the performance to back up its supercar title.

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