2011 Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 V10 Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2010
FAST FACTS
  • Drop-top based on the current Audi R8 Coupe
  • Unique styling details
  • Electro-hydraulic folding soft top
  • 5.2-liter V-10 powerplant
  • 6-speed manual or automatic transmission
  • Permanent all-wheel drive
  • Standard 19-inch wheels
  • Arrives in Germany in the first quarter of 2010

Introduction

2011 Audi R8 SpyderR8 is the name of Audi's five-time Le Mans 24 Hours-winning racecar, and it is the designation for Audi's flagship 2-seat mid-engine sports car. Featuring a lightweight Audi Space Frame (ASF) aluminum body, a choice of mid-mounted race-bred engines and quattro permanent all-wheel drive (AWD), the R8 demonstrates Audi innovation and experience learned from years of involvement in motorsports. The 2-seat coupe looks, and handles, like nothing ever seen in an Audi showroom-from the forward-mounted cabin for optimal weight distribution, to the dual "side-blade" air deflectors feeding and cooling the engine.

Audi chose the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show to debut its all-new R8 Spyder 5.2 V10, a convertible variant of its popular sports car. Unlike most manufacturers, whose coupes closely mirror the styling of their convertibles, Audi has chosen to significantly update the styling of the Spyder with new side panels (removing the distinguishing "blades") and new front and rear fascias. The top itself is an electro-hydraulic folding soft top with a heated rear window which, according to the manufacturer, opens and closes in 19 seconds (at speeds up to 30 mph) at the touch of a button. Its material is a leak-proof textile fabric with a headliner that has been designed for high-speed driving, Audi says.

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Model Lineup

2011 Audi R8 SpyderThe Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro is the new flagship of the lineup, sharing the showroom with the V-8 and V-10 models of the R8 coupe. As the headline model, the standard equipment level of the convertible R8 is generous enough to please even the most discerning buyer. Standard features include Audi's latest MMI infotainment/navigation system, with its upgraded 6.5-inch LED monitor and anti-theft alarm. While it is optional on the R8 coupe, the Spyder also enjoys a standard 465-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with 12 speakers, exclusively designed for the interior of the open-air Audi. The upgraded stereo even includes a microphone-based vehicle noise compensating system to adjust audio levels to the ambient noise.

According to Audi, the standard Nappa leather in the drop-top R8 Spyder (optional in the coupe) has been pigmented with special colors which are designed to reflect the infrared component of sunlight-reportedly keeping the seats up to 68 degrees cooler.

Hardware

While the closed-roof R8 coupe is offered with a choice between a 4.2-liter V-8 and a 5.2-liter V-10 engine, the all-new R8 Spyder is only fitted with the Lamborghini-sourced 10-cylinder powerplant. The aluminum engine is rated at 525 horsepower with 390 lb.-ft. of torque, and power is sent through a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed automatic with "R tronic" sport programming and shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. All R8 Spyder models feature Audi's quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system, tuned for a rearward bias for better handling and feedback to the driver, the manufacturer says. Audi claims the R8 Spyder will sprint to 62 mph in just 4.1 seconds towards a top speed of 194 mph.

With a short wheelbase to enhance agility, the Audi R8 Spyder has a fully independent suspension with double triangular wishbones at all four corners of the vehicle. Much of the suspension hardware is aluminum, to save weight. Audi's magnetic ride technology-shock absorbers that instantaneously adapt to road and driving conditions-is standard, as are 19-inch, 10-spoke wheels. The standard brake package includes 8-piston calipers in the front, and 4-piston calipers at the rear. A carbon fiber-ceramic brake package is optional.

Technology

2011 Audi R8 SpyderAccording to Audi, the R8 Spyder will offer the world's first optional seat belt microphone system. It is designed to offer hands-free communication-even when the top is down. Three small, flat microphones are integrated into the webbing of the seat belts. During a Bluetooth-enabled call, audio is played through the vehicle's speakers and received via the microphones which are optimally located to receive audio from the person on the phone. A fourth microphone is located in the windshield frame.
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