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Audi R8 Spyder at 2009 Frankfurt motor show

Published: 14 September 2009

It might be chocolate brown, but Audi’s new R8 Spyder is still a stunner. Unveiled on the eve of the 2009 Frankfurt motor show, it’s a drop-top version of Audi’s brilliant V10-powered R8 supercar.

Judging by the looks, I guess this new Audi R8 Spyder forgoes a folding metal roof?

It does. Instead there’s a 30kg fabric hood that folds away or opens out in just 19 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. The roof tucks away underneath a carbonfibre composite panel, while the separate heated glass rear screen slides down into the bulkhead, and it can be independently raised to act as a wind deflector. To break up the mass of rear bodywork two vented flying buttresses extend towards the back of the car, and there are roll-over bars hidden in the bulkhead.

Below the base of the windscreen the R8 Spyder looks nearly identical to the R8 V10, with twin-strake intakes and vents and the dual-oval exhausts. The only obvious difference is the lack of sideblades, which have been replaced by carbonfibre side panels.

And the engine?

It’s the familiar 5.2-litre V10, but don’t let familiarity breed contempt. The V10 is still amazing, producing 518bhp at 8000rpm and 391lb ft at 6500rpm. It’s enough to blast the four-wheel drive R8 Spyder to 62mph in 4.1 seconds. That’s a mere two-tenths slower than the coupe despite the 100kg kerbweight increase, and the top speed is three clicks slower at 194mph, but the compensation will be hearing the V10 howl with the roof down.

There are also full-LED headlights, an anodized aluminium windscreen surround, three choices of colour for the soft-top and a world-first optional seatbelt microphone for rustle-free telephone conversation. Both the six-speed manual and automated-manual R-tronic transmissions will be available, plus there’s a launch control system and the option of sports suspension.

The R8 Spyder will be launched in early 2010, and is expected to cost around £110,000. 

Anything else?

Also on Audi's stand was the new A5 Sportback, using the 328bhp/324lb ft supercharged 3.0-litre V6 that will also replace the 4.2-litre V8 in the S5 Coupe when the range is facelifted in 2010. A seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic transmission is standard and sends power to all four wheels.

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