Audi R8 Spyder


   Don’t ever let it be said that we don’t fully test the cars we get here at Love Shrewsbury Towers. Due to an urgent appointment, within less than 48 hours of Audi dropping off their latest R8 Spyder its odometer was already showing an extra 400 miles. By the end of our week with it I’d added significantly more than that.

    If it that’s not a testimony to the R8’s “everyday supercar” mantle then I’m not sure what is. What other 534bhp, four-wheel-drive, two-seater, drop-top is there in which you can simply jump-in, just minutes after it’s been delivered, and readily embark upon an 8 hour ‘round trip? It offers superb near all-round visibility (over the shoulder there’s quite a blind-spot), its cockpit layout is instantly familiar, and its ride is surprisingly – for something that sits on 20” rims that is – compliant and comfy

    You will have to pack light though; by which I mean lighter even than if you’re already used to the R8 coupe. Thanks to the removal of its roof the R8 Spyder loses the rather handy shelf that sits behind the seats in its hard-topped sister. Said ledge proved perfect for storing laptop bags and walking boots last year in the R8 Coupe I took to Goodwood’s Member’s Meeting. This time, thanks to a tool-box (don’t ask) and a jacket completely filling the Spyder’s Lilliputian front luggage trunk my overnight bag had to travel in the front passenger foot-well. The laptop bag, walking boots, and sadly the passenger too, all stayed home.

    It’s also advantageous if you’re short. At barely 5’8” with my boots on I still struggled a little to push the Nappa Leather covered sports seat as far back as I’d have liked. If you’re over 6 feet tall I’d strongly recommend you take an extended test-drive in the Spyder before you sign away its £129,335 (before options) asking price. 

    So then, how does the R8 Spyder drive?

   It might make the kind of noises that’ll have your neighbours three-doors-down questioning if they will ever need another alarm clock, and with the Drive Select mode switched to Dynamic and the active exhaust system set to Sport it barks with every down-shift the 7-speed automatic gearbox makes. But, despite its poster-car looks and its selectable show-boating theatrics, the R8 Spyder doesn’t intimate.

    In Comfort mode and with the roof up it’ll cruise so quietly that you could be forgiven for forgetting that the great wide-open is just but a button-press - and a show-stopping balletic mechanical-folding and hood-stowing action - away. It’s as easy to pootle the R8 Spyder along in morning traffic as it is your VW Golf; the steering is light, the gear-changes all but imperceptible. In fact it’s rather benign.

    It’s there, if anywhere, that one of my few criticisms is aimed: Shouldn’t a six-figure supercar scare you a little, shouldn’t it make you tingle all-over? I’m not sure this one does. And then there’s the interior.

   It’s all beautifully put together. There’s the same TFT dashboard, aluminium knobs, flat-bottomed steering wheel, and even the same VW-sourced indicator stalks as you’ll find in any of the premium-priced rep-mobiles that Ingolstadt churns out. But, you could probably pick up the same fittings and fittings in something costing less than Audi lavished on options alone in “our” R8 Spyder - £36,500!  In something costing this much and sounding, and looking - on the outside at least – this good, this cabin feels, well, far too familiar.

    That said, after more miles than I care to mention, and despite its foibles, I’m in no doubt just multi-talented the R8 Spyder is. If you’ve set your heart on an R8, believe me, this is the one to go for.



Audi R8 Spyder V10 5.2 FSI Quattro S Tronic (540 PS)

Engine: 5,204 cc V10 Cyl, 40V petrol

Transmission: 7speed S-tronic dual clutch auto with sequential manual paddle-shift option. Four wheel drive.

Power:  534 bhp @ 7,800 rpm

Torque: 398 lbft @ 6,500 rpm

0-62MPH: 3.6 Sec

Max Speed: 197 mph

CO2: 277g/km

MPG: 24.1 combined

Price: From £129,335.00 (as tested £165,840)


Many thanks to Louise at Audi’s UK press office for the loan of the R8



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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