New Audi R8 Spyder revealed at New York

The new Audi R8 Spyder, the soft-top version of the German carmaker’s mid-engined flagship model, has made its public debut at the New York Motor Show.

As sibling to the second-generation R8 coupé, the svelte two-seater is set to go on sale internationally in late 2016, rivalling the recently facelifted Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet. The supercar is expected to be priced at a premium to its coupé sibling.

The 2016 R8 Spyder is based on a modified version of the R8’s aluminium and carbonfibre spaceframe body structure, which uses added stiffening measures within the A-pillars, windscreen surround and sills to offset its lack of a fixed roof structure.

Audi claims a 50 percent increase in overall rigidity and 113kg reduction in kerb weight over its predecessor, launched in 2009.

At 4,426mm in length, 1,940mm in width and 1,244mm in height, the new Audi is 14mm shorter and 36mm wider than the previous R8 Spyder, but has the same height. Despite the altered dimensions, it continues to ride on the same 1,650mm wheelbase as before.

Its fully-automatic roof features two tapering buttresses that extend back over the engine cover at the rear, mimicking the styling treatment of its fixed-head sibling. It opens and closes in 20 seconds at speeds of up to 50kph. The fabric structure folds beneath a dedicated tonneau cover behind the two-seat cabin when stowed. The glass rear window can also be automatically extended and retracted within the rear bulkhead.

The R8 Spyder is powered by the same mid-mounted, naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine as the R8 with 532bhp. With a claimed kerb weight of 1,612kg, this provides the new Audi with a power-to-weight ratio of 330bhp per tonne. Torque peaks at 55.03kgm.

The sturdy reserves are channelled through a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and electrohydraulically operated multi-plated clutch four-wheel drive system, as well as a locking differential at the rear, to all four wheels.

Audi claims a 0-100kph time of just 3.6sec and 319kph top speed for the R8 Spyder – just 0.1sec and 5kph slower than the 158kg lighter R8 coupé.

A second variant of the R8 Spyder, sporting the more powerful, 601bhp version of the 5.2-litre V10 used in the R8 Plus, is expected in the line-up by the end of 2016.

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