2017 Audi R8 Spyder: Faster, Lighter and More Dynamic

Strong points
  • Enticing silhouette
  • Spectacular passenger compartment
  • Exemplary handling
  • Good performance for price
  • Sound of the V10
Weak points
  • High maintenance costs
  • Expensive options
  • Small trunk
Full report

COSTA BRAVA, Spain – The title says it all for the second-generation R8 Spyder. The new head honcho at Audi Sport was proud to present the vehicle to us and also took the time to inform us of his new role within the group: he’ll be laying the groundwork for a separate division known as Audi Sport. This portion of Audi AG now governs the R and RS models, including the R8.

Last year, we had the second-generation coupe, and now 2017 witnesses the arrival of the convertible version. It has the same redefined look as the R8 coupe, but with a few mandatory structural transformations to compensate for the absence of a hardtop. This Spyder is 36 mm wider than the first generation. This mostly benefits the trunk, whose capacity rises from 100 to 112 litres.

Photo: Audi

Not as heavy

The 2017 Audi R8 Spyder is 25 kg lighter and 55% more structurally rigid—simple improvements that help it lower its 0-100 km/h time by 0.2 seconds. This version of the R8 Spyder brings some notable innovations, including its soft top, which can close in less than 20 seconds and at a speed of up to 50 km/h.

Note that the soft top weighs a mere 44 kg. When the top is down, you can reduce turbulence by installing a net behind the seatbacks. In other good news, with the top up, the rear windshield can be lowered to let some fresh air into the cabin.

From a structural standpoint, this R8 features an aluminum-carbon fibre chassis. The main cage components are reinforced at the base and windshield uprights. This version of the R8 weighs in at 1720 kg, with more than 79.6% of the overall structure made of aluminum. The engineers’ design and manufacturing methods helped reduce the weight of each of the components by 10%. What’s more, the chassis’ torsional rigidity is 50% better. The result is surprisingly efficient.

For sport driving, the 2017 R8 cabriolet is a gem. Firmly anchored to the ground and with a very precise ride, it loses absolutely none of its dynamism as a result of having a soft top. And the sound of the V8 is something else! Press the ignition, and this R8 makes its intentions known. Furthermore, the sound can be amplified thanks to a small wheel-mounted button. That’s when your fellow motorists will discover this Audi’s true potential.

Photo: Jacques Deshaies

The V10’s song

Several rumours were circulating about the return of the V8 in the R8, but that news is complete fiction: the cabriolet has the same V10 as the coupe. This 5.2-litre engine generates 540 spellbindingly melodious horsepower and clocks in at 3.6 seconds for the 0-100 km/h sprint. That’s 15 more horsepower than the first generation. This improved V10 also benefits from a 10% reduction in fuel consumption. It uses cylinder deactivation and a stop/start system to pull this off. According to the manufacturer, the R8 cabrio’s fuel economy averages 11.7 L/100 km.

When equipped with a seven-speed, twin-clutch automatic gearbox, this R8 is fun to drive in manual mode thanks to shifters mounted behind the steering wheel. However, selecting Performance mode will give you the same conditions, as it enables the 2017 Audi R8 Spyder to operate as though it were in Manual mode. The gearbox upshifts and downshifts at diabolical speed.

Meticulous passenger compartment

Once inside the cabin, your eyes are in for a feast. The cockpit-style dashboard design is excellent. The virtual dashboard puts all of the car’s data right before your eyes, while keeping the main gauges like the odometer and tachometer. The quality of the materials remains irreproachable, just like the overall execution.

The seats offer maximum support and are conspicuously comfortable for a car in this class. The Bang & Olufsen audio system comes factory standard. Small speakers are installed in the headrests to let you really make the most of it—even with the top down!

Audi dealerships will start carrying this version of the new R8 beginning next spring. Since this R8 Spyder is a 2017, its price should be about $195,000 according to our hosts—and that’s not counting options. Nonetheless, it remains a very attractive exotic car. It’s timeless, dynamic and an industry icon.

Share on Facebook

More on the subject

NewsNew Audi R8 V10 plus selection 24h limited to just 24 units
Worried a $214,000 Audi R8 V10 plus won't cut it on the exclusivity scale? Well the German automaker has your back, announcing the limited edition R8 V10 plus selection 24h, a nod to the R8 LMS race car. Limited to just 24 units worldwide, the selection 24h builds on the …
New York2017 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Presented in New York
After unveiling the second-generation R8 Coupé two years ago, it’s now time for the new topless version of Audi’s sports car to appear, and its world debut is happening today in the Big Apple. The 2017 Audi R8 Spyder V10 gets a power-folding soft top that stretches out into two …
Blog2017 Audi R8: Turbo Engine To Replace The 4.2L V8
Recently launched and tested at Portugal’s Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, the new second-generation R8 comes exclusively with a 5.2-litre V10, since Audi retired the 4.2-litre V8 available in the previous model. However, it’s almost certain that the R8 will also be available with a turbo engine. At least, that’s if …
DetroitAudi Q8 concept, a new rival to the BMW X6
Audi is starting 2017 in a big way by unveiling an all-new SUV at the Detroit Auto Show, the Audi Q8 concept, which will be the inspiration for a production Q8 in 2018. The Audi Q8 will blend the dynamic styling of a coupe with the versatility of an SUV.
Toronto2018 Audi SQ5, TT RS and RS 3: German Hot Rods in Toronto
Audi set up a high-performance display at this year’s Canadian International Auto Show with a muscular line-up of cars and SUVs. The 2018 Audi SQ5 is redesigned from the ground up, with a familiar style that’s edgier and shares a resemblance with the bigger Q7 SUV. Compared to the regular …
GenevaItaldesign Zerouno, a New Supercar in the Volkswagen Family
Italdesign, a design studio based in Turin, Italy, recently suggested creating its own division of ultra-exclusive supercars that would be produced in very limited numbers. The objective was to compete with carbuilders such as Pagani and Koenigsegg. Mission accomplished. During the Volkswagen Group Night event before the media day of …
MontrealCanadian Premiere: Audi R8 Spyder V10 plus Adds on More Power
The ever-impressive Audi R8 is available in coupe and roadster (aka Spyder) configurations.This sports car has a naturally aspirated V10—meaning no turbo or supercharger. In the “base” version, it delivers 540 horsepower and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. If that’s not enough for you, there’s another version of this engine, simply …
Comments