Audi’s most powerful convertible ever!

The second-generation Audi R8 came to life in 2015, when the German firm unveiled an evolutionary design with sharper styling cues and a more aggressive approach. Audi also revamped the engine lineup, adopting an upgraded 5.2-liter V-10 and dropping the base V-8. Instead, it introduced an all-electric version of the R8, which was discontinued only a year on the market. Just like its predecessor, the second-gen R8 also gained Plus and Spyder variants. But for the first time in history, Audi brought the two badges under the same umbrella, creating the R8 Spyder Plus.

Essentially a convertible version of the more extreme R8 Plus, the Spyder Plus finally gives drop-top enthusiasts the option of driving a beefed-up version of the V-10 engine with infinite headroom. Not only a first for the nameplate, the Spyder Plus also gives the company a suitable competitor for the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, as well as the new-for-2018 McLaren 570S Spider. How does it stack up against the opposition? Find out in my review below.

Updated 06/19/2017: Audi dropped a first promo video for the new R8 Spyder V10 Plus. Continue reading to watch it!

  • 2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V10
  • Transmission:
    S Tronic dual-clutch
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    610
  • Torque @ RPM:
    413
  • Displacement:
    5.2 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    204 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    7.8/10

Promo video

Brief History

2008 Audi R8
- image 100740
Production of the R8 as we know it began in 2006, after Audi invested no fewer than $31 million in its factory at Neckarsulm.

The Audi R8 started life as the Audi Le Mans Quattro concept back in 2003. Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the concept had a twin-turbo V-10 engine under the hood and was rated at a then-astounding 600+ horsepower. Production of the R8 as we know it began in 2006, after Audi invested no fewer than $31 million in its factory at Neckarsulm. Initially launched with a 4.2-liter V-8 under the hood, the R8 gained a 5.2-liter V-10 based on the unit in the Lamborghini Gallardo in 2009. Spyder versions of each model followed in 2010, and Audi even created a V-12 turbodiesel concept car in 2008.

2017 - 2018 Audi R8 High Resolution Exterior
- image 619663
The R8 was redesigned in 2015, when the V-8 engine was dropped from the lineup.

In 2009, Audi introduced the race-spec R8 LMS version, which went on to win several races around the world, becoming one of the most popular customer cars of the last decade. The R8 was redesigned in 2015, when the V-8 engine was dropped from the lineup. After years of rumors and test vehicles, Audi finally introduced the all-electric e-tron, but this version was discontinued after only a year on the market. As a result, the second-gen R8 is available with a V-10 engine only. Rumors speak of an entry-level V-6 version, but it has yet to be confirmed as of 2017.

Exterior

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720047
2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720048
You can opt for a new package for the Plus model called the Micrommata Green design

We already know everything there is to know about the R8 Spyder, so the big question here is whether the Plus makes a difference when it comes to exterior features? And the answer is: not really!

Sure, there are a couple of features that set the Plus apart, but you have to look very close. And both of them are around back, where the Plus carries an additional black spoiler and the standard exhaust pipes are split in two for a quad layout. Other than that, it’s basically identical to the non-Plus model. But this isn’t an issue, as the second-gen R8 is as menacing as they get.

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720050
2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720051
The Spyder in the name also means that it comes with a lightweight fabric top instead of the metal roof

However, you can opt for a new package for the Plus model. It’s called the Micrommata Green design package and adds a rich green exterior paint and contrasting Anthracite Gray "singleframe" grille and black tailpipe covers.

Other than that, you get the same evolutionary design with sharper features, a larger front grille, race-like diffuser, and vertical side intakes. The Spyder in the name also means that it comes with a lightweight fabric top instead of the metal roof. It uses an aluminum and magnesium frame and it’s operated by an electro-hydraulic drive that opens and closes the hood in 20 seconds. The action can be done both ways at speeds of up to 31 mph.

The rear window can be retracted and extended depending on how much air you want inside the cabin. Speaking of which, the Spyder comes with an entirely different engine hood, as the large glass piece that showcases the V-10 mill was replaced by a vented hood. Personally, I like the vented hood better, as it gives the car a race-inspired look.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 104.4
Length (Inches) 174.40
Width (Inches) 76.37
Height (Inches) 48.81

Interior

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Interior High Resolution
- image 720056
Much like the exterior, the interior is identical to the standard Audi R8. The only features that can set it apart are the extra Audi Exclusive options or the new Micrommata Green design package.

Much like the exterior, the interior is identical to the standard Audi R8. The only features that can set it apart are the extra Audi Exclusive options or the new Micrommata Green design package. The latter dresses the interior in completely black, fine Nappa leather with perforated inserts, Green contrast stitching accents on the seats, center armrests, doors, and floor mats with luminous color that matches the exterior paint.

Needless to say, I would have liked to see more extra features and a few special options on top of that, but I must admit that the R8 is already a well-equipped sports car with everything an enthusiast needs.

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Interior High Resolution
- image 720055

The second-gen drop-top comes with a redesigned, flat-bottom steering wheel with three spokes and plenty of controls, revised sports seats with enhanced lateral support, and a 12.3-inch screen that replaces both the old instrument gauges and the MMI display previously fitted in the center stack. There’s also a redesigned dashboard with new A/C vents and a new center console. Trim options include an Alcantara and Nappa leather combo or the optional full Nappa leather for the seats, as well as clear-coated carbon-fiber for the center console, dashboard, and door panels.

Quite an impressive package when you also add the infinite headroom that comes with all cabriolets.

Drivetrain

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus
- image 720612
The R8 Spyder Plus comes with 610 horses and 413 pound-feet of twist on tap.

Here’s where the Plus is significantly different compared to the standard R8 V10. While it uses the same Lamborghini-sourced, 5.2-liter V-10 as the base model, the Plus version benefits from a number of upgrades that enhance output. Whereas the regular model cranks out 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque; the Plus comes with 610 horses and 413 pound-feet of twist on tap. That’s an extra 70 horsepower and 15 pound-feet, which is nothing to sneeze at and makes a big difference in the performance department.

It also marks the debut of the "Plus" badge on the R8 Spyder and makes it the most powerful convertible Audi has built to date.

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720054
The sprint to 62 mph comes in 3.3 seconds, three-tenths quicker than the non-Plus model, while top speed is now rated at 204 mph.

The naturally aspirated mill mates to an S Tronic dual-clutch transmission (no manual unfortunately) and Audi’s already iconic Quattro AWD system. The sprint to 62 mph comes in 3.3 seconds, three tenths quicker than the non-Plus model, while top speed is now rated at 204 mph, six mph higher. It’s also nearly as quick as the Plus coupe, being just a tenth second slower to 62 mph and just one mph slower in terms of top speed.

Mileage isn’t bad either, as the V10 Plus Spyder is rated at 19 mpg combined.

Drivetrain specifications

Engine 5.2-liter V-10
Horsepower 610 HP @ 8,250 RPM
Torque 413 LB-FT @ 6,500 RPM
0 to 60 mph 3.3 seconds
Top Speed 204 mph
Transmission S Tronic dual-clutch

Prices

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720052

U.S. pricing for the R8 Spyder Plus is not available as of June 2017, but Audi did say that the sports car will start from €207,500 in Germany. That’s a 16-percent premium over the standard R8 Spyder, which means that the Plus should start from around $203,000 in the U.S. For reference, the R8 Spyder costs $175,100 on this side of the pond.

Competition

Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

2017 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 658137
2017 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 658136

Although it sports its engine behind the seats and not in the rear, the R8 is obviously aimed at the 911 Turbo, arguably the oldest and most popular vehicle in this niche. Wearing a design that still harks back to the mid-1960s, the 911 Turbo has evolved into a tremendous machine that has no issues giving full-fledged supercars a run for their money. While the twin-turbo, 3.6-liter flat-six isn’t as powerful as Audi’s V-10 at 540 horsepower, it’s definitely quicker, needing only three seconds to hit 62 mph. And that’s just the base Turbo model. Upgrade to the Turbo S and the benchmark drops to an impressive 2.9 seconds, almost a tenth-second quicker than the R8 Plus. You also get a ton of premium features and modern tech, while pricing is nothing to be scared of at $174,100 for the Turbo Cabriolet and $203,000 for the Turbo S Cabriolet.

Find out more about the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet here.

McLaren 570S Spider

2018 McLaren 570S Spider Exterior High Resolution
- image 719992
2018 McLaren 570S Spider Exterior High Resolution
- image 719999

The 570S Spider is the newest vehicle in this comparison and McLaren’s first venture in this niche. A mid-engined design combining styling cues from the P1 and 650S, the 570S is a pretty exotic proposition and has everything it takes to give the R8 Plus and 911 Turbo a run for their money luxury-wise, despite having a more race-inspired interior. On the performance front, the 570S comes with a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 that cranks out 562 horsepower 443 pound-feet of torque, making it the least powerful of the bunch. However, it’s fantastic power-to-weight ratio and race-bred seven-speed dual-clutch make it quicker than the R8, with a 0-to-62 mph sprint of only 3.2 seconds. Its top speed is also impressive at 204 mph, but this figure can be reached only with the top up. In convertible mode, it drops to 196 mph. However, I must stress that unlike the R8 Plus and 911 Turbo, the 570S is rear-wheel-drive. Pricing starts from $208,800.

Learn more about the McLaren 570S Spider here.

Conclusion

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720053

Needless to say, the R8 Spyder Plus is the kind of car that you know in detail long before it hits dealerships. The R8 Plus has been around for quite some time, while the R8 Spyder is already one year old. However, I must give Audi credit for rolling out a Plus version of the R8 Spyder, which was very unlikely a few years ago. This is definitely a good decision, as the German firm finally has a proper competitor for the insane Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Okay, okay, maybe it’s not as quick, but it’s on par in just about any other department.

  • Leave it
    • * Not as quick as the 911 Turbo
    • * Needs more exclusive features compared to the base model

Press release

The Audi R8 Spyder V10 plus (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.5 l/100 km [18.8 US mpg]; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 292 [469.9 g/mi]) from the workshop of Audi Sport GmbH is the fastest series-production convertible model from the brand with the four rings. Its unmistakable 610 hp V10 mid-engine offers intense driving performance and powers the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The standard performance program, R8 bucket seats and many components made from carbon fiber-reinforced polymer distinguish this high-performance sports car, with its exclusive micrommata green paint finish giving it an even more cutting-edge look.

“The Audi R8 Spyder V10 plus completes the R8 model line,” said Stephan Winkelmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “The Spyder is now also available as a 610 hp top version in addition to the Coupé. It benefits from our many years of experience in motorsport and combines breathtaking dynamics with the emotion of an open-top sports car.”

The most powerful series-production engine from Audi: V10 mid-engine with 449 kW (610 hp)
Incredibly high revving up to 8,700 rpm, lightning-quick responsiveness and an awe-inspiring, voluminous sound – the V10 mid-engine is an object of fascination. With 449 kW (610 hp) and maximum torque of 560 Newton meters at 6,500 revolutions per minute, it is the most powerful series-production engine from the brand with the four rings. Compared with the Audi R8 Spyder V10 (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 11.7 [20.1 mpg] combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 277 [445.8 g/mi]), the naturally aspirated 5.2 FSI engine, with a high 12.7:1 compression ratio in the plus version, features a 52 kW (70 hp) boost in performance.

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720047

As a result, the top model sprints to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.3 seconds – 0.3 seconds faster – and achieves a top speed of 328 km/h (203.8 mph), an increase of 10 km/h (6.2 mph). Each hp only has to move 2.78 kilograms (6.1 lb).

In the NEDC, the R8 Spyder V10 plus consumes 12.5 liters per 100 kilometers (18.8 US mpg), which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 292 grams per kilometer (469.9 g/mi). Its efficiency technologies include the cylinder on demand (COD) system, which deactivates one cylinder bank at low to medium loads, as well as dual injection in the intake manifold and combustion chambers. If the driver lets off the accelerator at a speed of over 55 km/h (34.2 mph), the engine disconnects from the drive – and the new R8 Spyder coasts at idle with minimal fuel consumption. When the car comes to a stop, a start-stop system deactivates the V10 engine.

The oil supply is designed according to the dry sump principle, like that of a racing car. This enables the engine to be positioned extremely low, giving the car an extremely low center of gravity – a requirement for the sporty and agile driving behavior.

Stability and dynamics: the quattro drive
Behind the V10 there is a seven-speed S tronic with lightning-fast action. The sporty dual-clutch transmission, with its short transmission ratio, sends power to the quattro drive system in the front axle via a cardan shaft. Its key component is an electro-hydraulically activated multi-plate clutch. It is water-cooled for maximum performance. Depending on the driving situation, distribution of the drive torque by the clutch is completely variable, and in extreme cases sends up to 100 percent to one axle. A mechanical rear differential lock provides confident traction and maximum dynamics.

A question of character: Audi drive select
Management of the clutch is integrated in the Audi drive select dynamic driving system, which gives the driver a choice between the comfort, auto, dynamic and individual modes. The standard performance mode includes the programs dry, wet and snow. They adapt the characteristics of the drive system and suspension to the friction coefficient of the road.

Audi incorporates additional systems along with the quattro drive system – the accelerator pedal, the seven-speed S tronic, the steering, the flaps of the exhaust system and the optional Audi magnetic ride adaptive damper control, which uses a synthetic oil with small magnetic particles to vary damping in auto, comfort and dynamic modes. In dynamic mode, the system allows a more spontaneous steering response and more agile handling. The wheels are precisely braced during cornering and body roll is largely suppressed. During braking, Audi magnetic ride counteracts the tendency of the body to dip. The performance programs from Audi drive select also make use of Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) for the best possible lap times.

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720050

The racing car as a role model: the suspension
All four wheels of the Audi R8 Spyder V10 plus (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.5 l/100 km [18.8 US mpg]; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 292 [469.9 g/mi]) are guided through aluminum double wishbone suspensions – this solution also demonstrates the model line’s closeness to motorsport. The setup is firm and the electromechanical power steering offers the ideal specific combination of precision, handling and confident high-speed behavior for a sports car. Dynamic steering with variable steering ratio is available as an option. This boosts the car’s responsiveness at all speeds, providing high-performance cornering characteristics and quick steering behavior. It countersteers with tiny impulses at the cornering limit to further improve stability.

Audi mounts a mix of tires – 245/35 on the front, 295/35 on the back – on the standard 19-inch forged aluminum wheels in five twin-spoke design. On the optional 20-inch wheels, 245/30 and 305/30 tires are used. The large brake discs – 380 millimeter (15.0 in) diameter in front, 356 millimeters (14.0 in) in back – are manufactured from extremely durable, temperature-resistant and lightweight carbon fiber ceramic composite. The anthracite gray fixed calipers feature six pistons on the front axle and four in the rear.

Laser light and carbon components: the design
The R8 Spyder V10 plus has an angular and athletic stance on the road. It is 4.43 meters (14.5 ft) long and 1.94 meters (6.4 ft) wide, but just 1.24 meters (4.6 ft) tall. The most distinctive element on the front is the wide and flat Singleframe grille with its gloss honeycomb mesh, chrome-plated frame and the Audi Sport emblem. Below it stretches a low-lying carbon spoiler, which directs air around the large wheels. Optional Audi laser light in the LED headlights provides farsighted vision at night. These feature distinctive illuminated, anodized blue dividers as well as the dynamic turn signals.

A continuous shoulder line spanning the flanks emphasizes the taught line of the body. The sideblades, sill trim, lid on the convertible top compartment and the fixed rear spoilers are constructed from carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). They are distinguishing features of the open-top model. If desired, Audi can paint the sills and rear spoiler in the color of the car at no extra charge. In the rear, large, glossy black trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes flank the opening of the wide diffuser, another component made from CFRP. Its suction literally holds the Audi R8 Spyder V10 plus on the road – with about 100 kilograms (220.5 lb) of downforce being placed on the rear axle at top speeds.

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720048

Classic concept: the soft top
Typically Audi: the exterior skin of the cloth top is fabric, the substructure is primarily made from lightweight materials like magnesium and aluminum. Consequently, the cloth top weighs just 44 kilograms (97.0 lb) and contributes significantly to the low weight and low center of gravity of the R8 Spyder V10 plus. Two fins running to the rear tighten the top. An electrohydraulic drive takes 20 seconds to open or close the top, even while driving at speeds up to 50 km/h (31.1 mph). Folded in a Z-shape, it is housed in a flat storage compartment over the engine.

The rear window is sunk into the bulkhead and can be retracted and extended electrically. With all of the windows closed and the optional wind deflector installed, the wind passes gently over the driver and passenger. Two steel sections pretensioned by springs in the convertible top module serve as roll-over protection.

Lightweight body: the Audi Space Frame
The multimaterial Audi Space Frame forms the strong backbone of the R8 Spyder V10 plus (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.5 l/100 km [18.8 US mpg]; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 292 [469.9 g/mi]). It combines aluminum components with components made of structurally integrated carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). This is decisive for the low weight of the open-top high-performance sports car. Empty and without a driver, it weighs only 1,695 kilograms (3,736.8 lb); dry weight is just 1,587 kilograms (3,498.7 lb) – another 25 kilograms (55.1 lb) less than the Audi R8 Spyder V10 (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 11.7 [20.1 mpg]; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 277 [445.8 g/mi]). The lower weight is achieved, for one, with the R8 bucket seats, as well as with the carbon-ceramic brake system and the light-alloy forged wheels.

The aluminum parts make up 79.6 percent of the weight and constitute a supporting structure that the engineers used especially to strengthen the sills, A-pillars and front windshield frame of the car in comparison with the R8 Coupé (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.3 – 11.4* [19.1 – 20.6 US mpg]; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 287 – 272* [461.9 – 437.7 g/mi]. The outer skin is likewise made primarily of aluminum. The center tunnel, rear panel and B-pillars are made from extremely tough and torsion-resistant CFRP. In addition to the selection of materials, innovative manufacturing methods have also reduced the weight of many components. The Audi Space Frame weighs just 208 kilograms (458.6 lb), while its torsion-resistance has increased more than 50 percent compared to the first R8 generation. This rigidity is the decisive parameter for driving precision, crash safety and acoustic comfort.

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Interior High Resolution
- image 720056

As you wish: customization
With the Audi exclusive program, the possibilities are almost limitless for customers to personalize their R8 Spyder V10 plus. In addition to the 11 regular paint finishes, the program also includes freely selectable colors and matt-effect paint finishes. The convertible top is available in three colors, and the side blades can be selected in five colors. Like the door sill trim, the side blades can also be personalized with insignia as well as designed in colors according to customer tastes. In addition, parts in carbon or titanium black are available for many areas of the exterior and interior. Numerous upholstery types, inlays, and colors add to the wide range of options.

Aggressive look: the Audi exclusive micrommata green design package
The optional micrommata green design package lends the convertible high-performance sports car the ultimate edge. Its body is painted in a distinctive green. The anthracite gray Singleframe grille and black tailpipe covers create a sharp contrast. Audi exclusive furnishes the interior completely in black, in fine Nappa leather, which is perforated on control elements. Green contrast stitching accents the seats, center armrests, doors and floor mats with luminous color that matches the exterior.

Driver-focused: cockpit and controls
R8 bucket seats come standard in the top convertible model. They are light, highly contoured, mounted low and bear the R8 embossing. They are upholstered in fine Nappa leather with special pigmenting that stops them from heating up in the sun’s rays. Decorative inlays are made from carbon; the pedals and footrest are in glossy stainless steel. The defining element is the “monoposto”, a large arc running around the cockpit. The dashboard appears to float weightlessly. Its lower section contains buttons and controls for the air conditioning, shaped like turbines.

As in a racing car, drivers can operate all important functions without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. The standard R8 performance leather steering wheel features integrated multifunction buttons as well as two large control satellites. The driver uses these to start and stop the engine and control Audi drive select. Two more buttons including a rotary wheel are used to control the performance mode and the exhaust flaps.

The large 12.3-inch, fully digital Audi virtual cockpit presents all information using rich 3D graphics – if desired, in a special performance view that puts the focus on the rev counter. 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. Next to it are indicators showing output, torque, g-forces, lap times and the temperatures of the tires, engine and transmission oil.

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Interior High Resolution
- image 720055

High bandwidth: infotainment and Audi connect
The standard equipment package for the R8 Spyder V10 plus (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.5 l/100 km [18.8 US mpg]; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 292 [469.9 g/mi]) includes a superb infotainment system – the MMI navigation plus with MMI touch. It features impressive and intuitive control logic with flat hierarchies. Added to this is a free text search that delivers suggested hits after only a few letters are typed in. The natural-language voice control function also recognizes many terms from everyday speech. Standard seatbelt microphones provide for optimal audio quality, even when the top is down. In addition, the MMI navigation plus has an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for the mobile devices of passengers.

The optional Audi connect module enables fast internet access via LTE. Its offerings include numerous services ranging from navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View to travel and traffic information as well as point-of-interest searches. In addition, the Audi smartphone interface also displays selected content from iOS and Android smartphones in the Audi virtual cockpit. The optional Audi phone box connects mobile phones to the on-board aerial and charges them inductively in line with the Qi standard. The Bang & Olufsen sound system provides an excellent audio experience – even while driving with the top down. It integrates two head restraint loudspeakers in each seat.

2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus Exterior High Resolution
- image 720049

Handcrafted manufacture: the “Audi Böllinger Höfe” production facility
The quality of the R8 Spyder V10 plus (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 12.5 l/100 km [18.8 US mpg]; combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 292 [469.9 g/mi]) fulfills the most stringent standards. The body and final assembly are completed in the “Audi Böllinger Höfe” production facility operated by Audi Sport near Neckarsulm. The processes are organized to be highly flexible so that individual customer requests can be fulfilled. About 500 highly qualified employees construct the cars by hand with meticulous care. Before they are delivered, each high-performance sports car is put through a stringent test procedure until their final test drive on public roads.

Orders are now being accepted for the Audi R8 Spyder V10 plus, and the first cars will be delivered in late summer 2017. The base price in Germany is 207,500 euros.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: