Audi R8 Spider (2009): spy photos

Published: 13 August 2008

This is the stunning new Audi R8 Spider with a fully convertible fabric roof. Snapped by CAR Online’s spies undergoing development work at the Nurburgring, this is the first time the Audi R8 Spider has broken cover and our pictures reveal the folding roof. Contrary to previous reports the R8 Spider won’t have a lift-out targa-style panel, but a folding roof that will tuck away neatly next to the rear bulkhead.

What’s the evidence the Audi R8 Spider will be a proper convertible?

The clues are obvious. The rear bodywork is new (see our photos for comparison with a regular R8), with a two-piece flat rear deck replacing the sweeping pillars of the coupe. This allows for a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder-style folding roof, with small rear fabric buttresses.

In our photos these buttresses are partially disguised by the fake sloping rear screen. Beneath this, and on the production cars, you’ll find a glass cover showing the engine in all its glory. Expect most R8 Spider owners to tick the options box for the LED engine bay lighting.

Although not visible in our pictures, the other clue this R8 is a full drop-top has been the movement of the fuel filler cap. It no longer sits on the rear pillar, because that no longer exists. It has instead moved to a position just ahead of the rear wheelarch.

Click ‘Next’ below to read more about the Audi R8 Spider

Cool. What else should I know about the Audi R8 Spider?

The car in our spy photos has different front and rear bumpers from any R8 seen thus far. Inspiration seems to have come from the TT Clubsport Quattro with chromed strakes dividing the front air intakes. There are also reprofiled side sills, and noticeable by their absence are the R8’s famous side blades.

At the back this R8 Spider has twin exhaust pipes, which so far have only been spotted on the V10 prototypes. However, our car lacks the V10’s distended side air intakes. Nevertheless, in the true Audi tradition of filling every niche, both V8 and V10 versions of the Spider will be available. We’ve also got our fingers crossed that Audi offers this car’s matt black paint.

Right, pricings and timings please?

An R8 currently costs £78,300 in UK money, so expect to cough up at least £85k for an Spider version. Add another £7k if you want an R-tronic gearbox and at least ten grand more for the V10 version. That car will appear later this year, while the Spider is expected in mid-2009, with a debut at either the Geneva or Frankfurt motor show.

Excited by the Audi R8 Spider, the solitary car from Ingolstadt that looks good with LED daytime running lights, or turned off by yet another Audi? Click ‘Add your comment’ below and have your say.

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By Ben Pulman

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