It’s a bit dull, the R8 Coupe, in my opinion. Hark! I can hear the understeer, and smell the burning oil, as der Audi fanboys career towards my house. Hold your horses; I am not saying it’s a bad car, not by any stretch. That sonorous V10, smooth ride, fabulous interior and staggering accessibility – even Pastor Maldonado could get it cleanly around a circuit – all count heavily in its favour.
As an everyday supercar, it excels. It is extremely proficient, refined and disciplined.
It is also, as a result, terrifically safe and somewhat aloof. Consequently, those looking for heart-trembling excitement may find it lacking. This newdrop-top version, however, reinstates some of the thrill required to get the blood flowing. The fixed-roof cocoon of safety is gone, and you are more exposed – both to the elements, which can be joyous itself, and the car.
Primarily, you’re infinitely more aware of the machinations of that fine naturally aspirated powertrain; the murmur of the valvetrain and whirr of the ancillaries, the piercing exhaust note, the sharp, guttural induction roar prompted every time the throttle blades shift a degree – the additional volume serves to further connect, involve and animate. Then there’s the slick, elegant roof mechanism, and those meaner, leaner looks.
Drawbacks? It’s predictably less stiff than the Coupe; mount a kerb to provoke a little twist and you’ll hear myriad trims shudder and scuffle. Can you feel this in the corners? Fractionally, but you’ll be too busy revelling in the experience – even at sensible speeds – to care.
Audi R8 Spyder V10 5.2 FSI quattro 540 PS S tronic
Engine: 5204cc 40v V10
Power: 533bhp @ 7800rpm
Torque: 398lb ft @ 6500rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive
Suspension: double wishbone all round
Top speed: 197mph
On sale: Now
R8 takes the air, and instantly unlocks some of that supercar magic