Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro Review
Catching Spyders

Story and Photos by Raymond Lai
1 Jan 2011
 

Having first driven it in the glamorous surroundings of the French Riviera back in March, Raymond Lai finds out what the R8 Spyder is like on more familiar ground here in Singapore.

Introduction, styling


Audi first entered Le Mans way back in 1999. It entered two different cars in its first year at the French sports car enduro classic - the R8C and the R8R. Under the skin, both race cars were basically similar but the R8C had a closed cockpit coupe body while the R8R was an open cockpit design.

Audi had actually entered two different cars to test in Le Mans racing conditions if an open or closed car was more advantageous. Audi chose the open route in the end and has stuck with it till 2010 - the all conquering R8, R10 and the R15 are all open cockpit sports prototypes (2011 sees a return of the closed Audi Le Mans car in the form of the R18).

Just like its race car namesake, the R8 road car now comes without a roof. The topless R8 Spyder comes four years after the coupe was first launched. Since then, the mid-engine supercar has become Audi's halo car - heck, it is even the ride of choice for Tony Stark aka Ironman. The new Spyder will initially be available in 5.2 FSI quattro V10 guise but a 4.2 V8 variant will suffice later on in the year.

I'm quite surprised that the R8 hasn't aged a tad in the looks department almost half a decade after its debut. I've always thought that the R8 is one of those cars that we see so much of when it was new that we'd soon grown tired of looking at it. Well, not so it seems - the R8 looks every bit as fresh and still an attention grabber today as it was when it first appeared. The Spyder adds further spice to the R8's looks and stance even though it loses the coupe's signature and characteristic side blades. Audi did say that the Spyder is deliberately styled without the coupe's characteristic side blades to differentiate itself from the fixed roof model as the topless car is supposed to have a different character.

In addition, the coupe's glass engine cover is no more and replaced by a distinctive looking rear deck that is characterized by a pair of matte silver coloured cooling louvers for the engine. Sadly, the beautifully crafted V10 is now only visible from a small opening on the rear deck thanks to a roof cover that is almost as large as the whole deck.

With the steeply raked windscreen and its A5 Cabriolet style matte aluminium frame and flat rear deck, the Spyder cuts a distinctively pretty profile. The lack of a sloping rear roof also accentuates the R8's width and hence its muscular stance when viewed directly from the rear. The R8 Spyder is a really pretty car and has visual drama that no other German cars can match. The Spyder looks even more dramatic in the custom Ipanema Brown paint job of the car in the pictures here - this car is like sex on wheels, eyes stare and follow it where ever it goes.


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