The new Audi R8 Spyder is faster, lighter and more dynamic than its predecessor. Together with the Coupé, it forms the vanguard of the Audi model lineup and offers the ultimate in open-top driving enjoyment.
Horizontal lines characterize the front view, as does the wide and low Singleframe with its honeycomb grille. Sculpted surfaces connect it to the wedge-shaped headlights. The contours above the wheels are a cue to the quattro drive; the sideblades, which have been updated from the previous model, set bold accents.
The concept of emphasized horizontals also gives the rear a wide, athletic look. Trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes, optionally with glossy black tips, flank a diffuser with vertical ribs. The engine compartment vents and the LED rear lights refer visually to one another; the forked contours of the lights create a distinctive red light signature. Each rear light includes 118 individual LEDs that produce an absolutely homogeneous light.
37 light-emitting diodes in each of the headlights of the new R8 Spyder produce a bright LED light that can be augmented with the optional Audi laser light. A module with four high-power laser diodes, each of which is just 300 micrometres in diameter, emit a blue laser beam with a wavelength of 450 nanometres. A phosphor converter converts it into white light with a colour temperature of 5,500 Kelvin, which is pleasant to the human eye.
The Audi laser light, which is activated at speeds of 60 km/h and above in extra-urban areas, increases the range of the high beam and thus provides the driver with added visibility and safety. An intelligent camera-based sensor system detects other road users and actively adjusts the light pattern to dim the light intensity specifically for them. The presence of the Audi laser light is indicated by the lighted, anodized blue strips dividing the headlights. It is combined with dynamic turn signals up front, which run from the inside out with a cycle time of 400 milliseconds. This feature is standard at the rear.
The aluminium tank cap bears an embossed logo and after opening the cap, the driver can insert the fuel nozzle directly into the tank neck. Just like with a racing car, there is no fuel cap to unscrew.
Typical Audi: lightweight soft top
The convertible top of the R8 Spyder weighs just 44 kilograms, thus contributing to the low centre of gravity of the open-top, high-performance sports car. Two fins running to the rear stretch the cloth, which together with the large cover of the compartment for the convertible top, harmonize perfectly with the striking design of the R8 Spyder. An electro-hydraulic drive opens and closes the top in just 20 seconds at speeds up to 50km/h.
Multimaterial Audi Space Frame
The new Audi R8 Spyder tips the scales at just 1,720 kilograms in unladen weight (without driver), whereas the dry weight is a mere 1,612 kilograms. The key to this outstanding figure is the new multimaterial Audi Space Frame (ASF). It combines aluminium components with components made of structurally integrated carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). The ASF in the new Audi R8 Spyder has a total weight of just 208 kilograms.
Comprising 79.6 percent of the ASF, the aluminium components form a lattice that Audi’s engineers have used to incorporate specific reinforcements especially into the sills, A-posts and windshield frame compared with the R8 Coupé. The front and rear ends of the new Audi R8 Spyder are assembled primarily from cast aluminium nodes and extruded sections. The body’s outer skin, for example the front hatch, doors and side elements, is also made primarily of aluminium. The centre tunnel, bulkhead, B-pillars and cover of the convertible top compartments are made of CFRP. They form the ultra-strong, nearly torsion-free backbone of the occupant cell. Innovative manufacturing methods lower the weight of individual components by up to ten percent.
Compared to the previous model, the ASF of the new Audi R8 Spyder has become significantly better in all criteria. With nearly 50 percent higher torsional rigidity, it is the foundation for the precise handling, high crash safety and acoustically pleasing vibration behavior. The new multimaterial ASF attains a top figure in the sports car segment for its lightweight index – a measure of the relationship between weight, size and rigidity.
From 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, 11.8 seconds for the sprint from 0 to 200 km/h and a top speed of 318 km/h sum up the dynamic performance of the new Audi R8 Spyder. It sprints to 100 km/h two-tenths of a second faster than its predecessor, reaches the 200 km/h mark six-tenths of a second sooner and delivers 7 km/h more top speed. From its 5,204 cm3 displacement, the free-breathing, high-compression (12.7:1) V10 engine develops 397 kW of power and 540 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm. The power-to-weight ratio is just 3.19 kilograms per hp.
The ten-cylinder engine responds lightning fast to the accelerator and spins up effortlessly to 8,700 rpm. At the redline, the pistons are traveling nearly 27 metres every second. With the ignition sequence 1 – 6 – 5 – 10 – 2 – 7- 3 – 8 – 4 – 9 and alternating firing intervals of 54 and 90 degrees, it plays a very unique, unmistakable music: a hissing and roaring that becomes increasingly voluminous and exhilarating as the revs rise. Sound flaps in the exhaust system are standard; the optional sport exhaust system with gloss black tailpipe trims gives the sound an added edge.
Compared with the previous model, NEDC fuel consumption has declined by ten percent thanks to potent efficiency technologies. The cylinder on demand (COD) system deactivates one cylinder bank at low to intermediate load, and the dual injection system injects fuel directly in to the combustion chambers (FSI) and into the induction pipe (MPI) as needed.
When the car comes to a stop, a start-stop system deactivates the engine. The new Audi R8 Spyder thus consumes on average 11.7 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres and emits 277 grams CO2 per kilometre.
The oil system is designed as a dry sump system. In contrast to a conventional oil pan bolted on below the engine, the separate oil tank – an upright aluminium vessel behind the engine – allows the V10 engine to be installed in a lower position, thus enabling the car’s very low centre of gravity. The system is designed for racing and ensures the flow of oil up to 1.5 g of longitudinal or lateral acceleration.
Breathtaking cornering speeds, highly precise and always stable handling – the new Audi R8 Spyder is also at the head of the pack when it comes to the drivetrain. It combines three high-tech components: a seven-speed S tronic, a newly developed, fully variable multi-plate clutch and a locking differential.
The ultra-compact and lightning-fast seven-speed S tronic is placed behind the V10 engine, and commands are transmitted strictly electrically – by wire. The driver can shift gears manually using the gear selector lever or the shift paddles on the steering wheel. Or the driver can have the S tronic shift automatically in the D or S program. At the push of a button, the launch control system automatically engages the clutch at approximately 4,500 rpm to enable maximum acceleration from a standing start. If the driver lets off the accelerator at a speed of over 55 km/h, the transmission opens both clutches and the new R8 Spyder coasts at idle with minimal fuel consumption.
Redesigned: quattro permanent all-wheel drive
The power is transferred via a propshaft from the seven-speed S tronic to a completely redesigned quattro drive. Its heart is an electronically controlled and electro-hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch that is integrated into the front axle transmission and is connected to the engine cooling circuit for maximum performance.
Unlike the component used previously, the clutch regulates the drive torque variably. The all-wheel drive software continuously computes the ideal distribution of torque to the axles for the given situation as a function of the driving situation, driver input and ambient conditions. Up to 100 percent of the power can flow to the front or rear axle, for instance. During fast cornering, the wheel-selective torque control, an intelligent software function of the electronic stabilization program, uses targeted, minor braking interventions at the inside wheels to make handling even more stable and fluid.
Management of the multi-plate clutch is integrated into the driving dynamics system Audi drive select, which offers the four modes comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. In each of these, the open-top high-performance sports car displays a different character ranging from effortless, relatively comfortable cruising to an uncompromising style that savors every bend on a mountain pass.
The mechanical rear axle differential further improves traction and handling. It has a locking effect of 25 percent during engine traction operation and 45 percent during engine overrun. It is precisely tuned for the dynamic character of the new R8 Spyder and the actively controlled quattro drive.
Audi drive select integrates other components besides the quattro drive – the accelerator, steering, the S tronic, control of the exhaust flaps and the optional adaptive damper system Audi magnetic ride. In dynamic mode, these systems support safe, controlled drifts and make the handling even more taut. In auto mode, on the other hand, traction and stability have priority – for high speed and low lap times.
The car’s handling becomes even more accomplished and precise with the optional performance leather steering wheel. It adds three more driving programs: dry, wet and snow. These adapt the most important parameters for dynamic driving to the grip conditions of the road surface, affecting not only the quattro drive and the technical components indicated above, but also the electronic stabilization control (ESC) for the best possible lap times.
The electro-mechanical steering delivers differentiated feedback from the road. It offers the specific optimum for sports cars of precision, manageability and composure at high speeds. The optional dynamic steering improves vehicle reactions at all speeds up to the limit for high-performance cornering and fast turn-in. It varies its ratio between 10.0:1 and 17.5:1 as a function of driving speed while simultaneously adjusting steering torque. It countersteers with tiny impulses at the cornering limit to future improve stability. Both steering systems can be freely configured using Audi drive select, from comfortable long-distance cruising to the optimum on the racetrack.
Like a racing car, the new Audi R8 Spyder has a lightweight aluminium double wishbone suspension. Track width is 1,638 millimetres at the front axle and 1,599 millimetres at the rear axle. 19-inch wheels with mixed tyres are standard.
The brakes slow the open-top high-performance sports car with supreme control. The standard steel discs – internally vented and perforated – have a weight-saving wave design and a diameter of 365 millimetres up front and 356 millimetres in the rear. Audi offers particularly durable and lightweight carbon fiber-ceramic brake discs as an option. These measure 380 millimetres in diameter on the front axle and 356 millimetres on the rear axle. They are highly temperature-resistant and long-lasting, and are a total of 15.2 kilograms lighter than their steel counterparts.
The interior of the new Audi R8 Spyder echoes the streamlined styling of the exterior and also visualizes the systematic lightweight construction concept. The defining element is the “monoposto”, the large arc running around the cockpit. The instrument panel appears to float weightlessly, and cylindrical controls for the automatic air conditioner are arranged along its lower edge.
The driver and passenger sit in the new, low-mounted R8 sport seats with integrated head restraints. They are power-adjustable and heatable at the push of a button. The lumbar support is pneumatically adjustable, as are the seat and backrest side bolsters. Audi also offers optional R8 bucket seats. These are even more strongly contoured, can be folded down and feature some power adjustments.
In the new R8 Spyder, the control concept is completely focused on the driver. All important functions can be controlled without drivers having to take their hands off the steering wheel or look away from the road. Besides the multifunction buttons for the telephone, navigation, media and the voice control system, the R8 sport leather steering wheel also includes two large satellite buttons. They are used to start and stop the engine as well as to operate Audi drive select. The optional performance leather steering wheel includes two more buttons and a rotary wheel for the performance mode and for controlling the exhaust flaps.
The standard Audi virtual cockpit, the fully digital display of the open-top two-seater, displays all information in richly detailed, tack-sharp 3D graphics. Its TFT display has a 12.3-inch diagonal and offers a resolution of 1,440 x 540 pixels. The display varies its context-related color scheme according to the main menu selected. In the Media menu, for example, it is orange, while green is used for the Phone menu.
The driver can switch between the display interfaces by pressing the “View” button on the steering wheel. In infotainment mode, the navigation map or lists from the Telephone, Radio and Audio areas appear in a large central window – while the tachometer and speedometer appear as small dial instruments on either side of this display window. In the classic view, the instruments are approximately as large as analog instruments, and the centre display window is therefore smaller.
There is a performance view specially for driving on the racetrack. Here the primary instrument is a central tachometer. It also serves as a gear shift indicator – when the seven-speed S tronic is being operated in manual mode, its scale has a color background at higher engine speeds. Green, orange and red segments are activated as revs increase. As soon as the engine reaches its limit, the entire scale flashes red.
The driver can place other displays to the left and right of the tachometer using the multifunction buttons. The power output and torque of the 5.2 FSI are shown as percentages, and a g-meter, whose peak value is 1.5 g, visualizes the forces acting on the car. A lap timer records up to 99 laps and compares times. The status of important technical components is also displayed – the temperature of the tyres, motor oil and transmission fluid as well as tyre air pressure.