Lighter and more powerful: The Audi R8 GT Spyder

7 Jun

By Matt McCarron

Audi R8 GT Spyder: Courtesy Audi North America

There is a reason most high-performance vehicles are conceptualized as a coupe before a convertible. Not to mention that owners often opt for the hard top rather than a soft top. Convertibles usually cost more to produce, to purchase and are also inherently heavier. This added weight results in a loss of performance. Not something most want to hear after dropping over six figures on a vehicle.

However, the Audi R8 GT Spyder has managed to turn the above notion on its head. Not only has the supercar refused to add any weight, it has gone on a strict diet of carbon fiber, ultra-light magnesium and aluminum.The R8 GT Sypder is literally covered in carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). The cover over the soft-top compartment, large rear side panels use CFRP, as well as the fixed rear spoiler and the redesigned front spoiler and rear bumper.

Body panels are not the only pieces of the vehicle that have received special treatment. The interior seats, composed of glass fiber-reinforced polymer save a remarkable 69.45 lbs. The result of all this ultra lightweight technology is a total weight of just 3,615.58 lbs. That’s 187.39 lbs less than the regular R8 Sypder 5.2 FSI quattro.

Audi R8 GT Spyder rear view: Courtesy Audi North America

The R8 GT Sypder shares the same 5.2-liter V10 as the R8 GT coupe. It produces 560 hp and 398.28 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm, allowing the R8 GT Spyder to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 3.8 seconds and reach a top speed in excess of 196 mph. All of this horsepower and torque is transferred to the wheels via a standard automated six-speed R tronic transmission with two fully automatic modes and an additional manual mode. The R tronic transmission also gives the driver the option of using launch control for blistering acceleration from a stop, with gear shifts taking only one-tenth of a second.

As with all models of the R8, the R8 GT Spyder features Audi quattro all-wheel drive. So yes, you can rip around corners and through the twisties with added ease. On top of the all-wheel drive system the driver can have the added security of knowing there is an upgraded aluminum double wishbone suspension and lightweight carbon-fiber ceramic brakes. That being said, if you really want to let loose you just put the Spyder into sport mode, effectively deactivating the ESP stabilization program.

As with the GT coupe, the R8 GT Spyder will be limited to 333 units worldwide, with no more than 90 making their way to U.S. shores. If you want one you better act fast and have deep pockets. All 333 examples of the GT coupes sold out long before they were even built and you can expect the same to be true for the Spyder. Pricing for U.S. spec car has not be released yet. However, judging by the German base MSRP of 207,800 euros, you can expect the U.S version to cost in the area of $304,000.

Interior Audi R8 GT Spyder: Courtesy Audi North America

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