Audi R8 Spider (2007): first official pictures

Published: 27 July 2007

Audi R8 Spider: the lowdown

Audi is lopping the top off its R8 supercar – and CAR Online has the exclusive proof. This official design sketch leaked from the company’s Ingolstadt design studios shows exactly how the open-air R8 will look when it goes on sale in 2009. It follows our scoop on the Audi A1 yesterday, and we have more Audi news to come tomorrow. This drawing reveals the R8 targa for the first time, with twin speedster humps incorporating breathing vents for the mid-engined V8 behind the two-seater cockpit. The doors are deeply scalloped, as on the coupe, but this time there’s a shortened, stumpier aluminium-look blade just ahead of the rear wheels. Tone down the cartoony feel of this sketch (just look at the liquorice-wrapped, deeply dished alloys) and this is the final production car. This picture confirms CAR Magazine’s scoop (October 2006) that the R8 will have removable targa panels, rather than a space-gobbling removable fabric roof or folding hard-top. Fact is, most buyers of this £85k roadster will live in hotter climes like Florida, where a fiddly targa top won’t be a problem. Powering the R8 Spider will be the same 4.2-litre V8 that you’ll find in the RS4 and R8 tin-top. It’s a high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 mustering 414bhp – easily enough to make the lightweight, alumnium R8 a very capable sports car indeed. And this targa version is aimed squarely at open-top versions of the 911. There’s more change in store for the R8. Audi is planning to drop in the V10 from its donor car, the Lamborghini Gallardo, which will give the R8 sufficient poke (500bhp+) that its four-wheel drive chassis has always cried out for. It’s all part of Audi’s continuing plan to leapfrog BMW and Mercedes to become the world’s biggest premium car maker by 2015. Niche-filling is the name of the game, as the company targets 1.5 million sales a year, so expect derivatives galore…

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet

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