The New Audi R8 Spyder Is a Sports Car to Be Seen In

Also, the one that’s easy to see out of.

byWill Sabel Courtney| PUBLISHED Mar 23, 2016 7:47 PM
The New Audi R8 Spyder Is a Sports Car to Be Seen In

If you know anything about the current-generation Audi R8, you already know a lot about the 2017 Audi R8 Spyder. It has the same 540-horsepower, 5.2-liter V-10 engine (there isn't a Plus model, not yet at least), the same seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, the same digital "virtual cockpit" dashboard. Other than the folding top that ducks away behind the passenger compartment at the touch of a button, and the rear deck that hints at twin fairings for occupants' heads, the two cars are practically identical. The coupe doesn't even have the side blade it needs to discard to become a roadster, the way the first-gen car did.

But while the hard top R8's interior is a dark cave that hides its occupants, the R8 Spyder lets you be seen. Lets the world see your face split wide when you crack open the throttle of that glorious, naturally-aspirated engine. Lets the public notice you, you lucky bastard. And choosing the R8 Spyder lets you see! With the top gone, the world around is yours to appreciate. Skyscrapers, canyons, trees, beautiful people—all those things you missed behind the thick pillars and metal roof of the R8 coupe. It lets you hear, too, as there's an optional sport exhaust, and you'll want it, for its 7,800-rpm noises and its glossy black pipes. You can always crank up the 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo if you grow weary of the wail. And since its only 97 pounds heavier than the hardtop, the Spyder will do 0-60 in 3.6 seconds on the way to a rendezvous with 197 miles an hour.

Should the skies start to threaten, a simple flick of a switch raises the roof in just 20 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. And, thanks in large part to the twin fins stretching back from it when it's raised, the R8 Spyder still looks damn fine with its top up. But, still, don't raise it too often.