Audi R8 GT Spyder (2011) spy photos

Published: 17 May 2011

This is our first sighting of the new Audi R8 GT Spyder. Alongside a slew of sketches of the next-gen A3, Audi last month also issued a few images of the R8 GT Spyder, and now our spies have snapped the real thing on test in Germany.

How does an Audi R8 Spyder become an Audi R8 GT Spyder?

With the help of a Lamborghini Gallardo-spec V10. Rather than the 518bhp and 391lb ft from the standard R8’s 5.2-litre engine, this GT version boasts 552bhp and 398lb ft, the exact figures produced by an LP560-4. The GT is still a few horses shy of Lambo’s equivalent hardcore Gallardo Superleggera and Performante, but the 10bhp difference won’t be noticeable in the real world.

As for the rest of the car, the GT tag doesn’t mean this is a gran touring drop-top; instead it’s a lighter, harder version of the R8 Spyder. That means carbon-backed bucket seats, less insulation, and thinner carpets – not exactly a Gran Turismo, is it?

What else?

Where to start… standard-fit ceramic brakes, manually adjustable coilover suspension in place of the adaptive dampers, GT3 RS 4.0-alike winglets on the nose (though they’re missing from the car in our pictures), plus lots of carbonfibre-reinforced plastics parts including the rear deck, side blades, bumpers and big rear wing. There’s a lighter battery, too, and a thinner aluminium bonnet.

Audi built just 333 R8 GT coupes and we doubt there’ll be many more GT Spyders. We hear the R8 GT Spyder will be officially unveiled at Le Mans, with its debut-proper coming at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. Get your name down now for the 190mph, sub-4.0sec GT Spyder – if you’ve got at least £160k to spare. That’s obviously alot, but then again this car is a Lamborghini Performante by another name but at least £20k cheaper than the Italian.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy