The top-model R8 goes topless.
Up until now, the best way to experience that naughty 5.2 FSI was with the R8 V-10 Spyder. The Audi R8 GT offered a more potent version of the engine, but it didn’t fill the cabin with the musical sounds of fuel igniting like the Spyder. But, the Spyder didn’t offer the same lightweight performance as the R8 GT Coupe. So, for that group of 333 potential buyers that were seeking a balance between the two, the German automaker has unveiled the Audi R8 GT Spyder.
The new Audi R8 GT Spyder is a continuation of the same lightweight technology and engineering that was used in the GT Coupe. Over 187 lbs. (85 kg) has been shed from the Spyder, bringing weight down to just 3,615.58 lbs. (1,640 kg). The entire body weighs in at only 471.79 lbs (214 kg) thanks to Audi Space Frame (ASF) technology. A lightweight but quiet soft top is used can be deployed in 19 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. For safety, Audi uses an integrated rollover protection system with two pretensioned plates in the bulkhead.
The exterior is also trimmed in the same lightweight motorsport-inspired mentality as the rest of the Audi R8 GT Spyder. Many components such as the long ragtop cover, rear side panels, and rear bumper are made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP). Even the aerodynamic enhancements such as the front spoiler, front splitter with dual lip, side flics, fixed rear spoiler, and rear diffuser are made from the lightweight material, and shed 12.13 lbs. (5.5 kg) from the overall weight. Customers even have the option to order the windshield frame in CFRP. The exterior of the Audi R8 GT Spyder is also distinguishable by a list of other exclusive features. Red “GT” badges adorn each of the front fenders, large round exhaust tailpipes are integrated into the rear bumper, and dark LED taillights in a clear glass design create a stunning visual aesthetic.
The most exciting aspect of the new GT Spyder is the 5.2 FSI engine. The engine frame is built from lightweight magnesium and the crankcase is all aluminum to shed weight. Output is rated at an impressive 560 horsepower and 398 lb-ft. of torque, giving the GT Spyder a power-to-weight ratio of 6.46 lbs. (2.93 kg)/ horsepower. This low weight and high output helps launch the R8 GT Spyder to 62 mph from rest in 3.8 seconds and to a top speed of 196.97 mph (317 km/h).
Power is sent to all four wheels through the famous Quattro all-wheel drive system and the standard six-speed R-Tronic transmission. The sequential manual transmission features one manual and two automatic modes. Gears can be changed in manual mode in a tenth of a second by either using the steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters or by using the console-mounted joystick. The Quattro all-wheel drive system is rear-wheel biased in the Audi R8 GT Spyder, but can send additional torque to the front wheels if necessary. Audi has also fitted the rear axle with a limited slip differential for added grip.
Even the chassis still retains the special performance tweaks and upgrades as the coupe model. Lightweight aluminum double wishbones and a 0.39-inch (10 mm) lower suspension work to make the Audi R8 GT Spyder a precise handler. Four 19-inch wheels are used and measure 8.5 J up front and a staggering 11.5 J at the rear. Sporty 235/35 front and 295/30 rear tires help achieve better grip for the wide wheels. Behind the wheels hide powerful 14.96-inch front and 14.02-inch rear carbon ceramic brake discs with lightweight anodized red aluminum calipers wearing “Audi Ceramic” badging.
The interior is a perfect example of sport luxury. While new Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) bucket seats shed 69.45 lbs. (31.5 kg) of weight and provide a sportier feel than the standard R8 seats, a number of comfort features adorn the cabin to give it a touch of luxury. The entire interior is black and can be contrasted by either titanium grey or crimson. Alcantara is used on the steering wheel, windshield frame, and is the standard choice of upholstery for the convertible. Adding to the overall driving experience is a built-in lap timer, matte CFRP trim, and white dials with “R8 GT” logos.
Sales of the Audi R8 GT Spyder will begin in August of 2011. Just like the coupe, only 333 examples will be produced for a base price of € 207,800 (+/- 297,800 USD).
Audi R8 GT Spyder Specifications
Displacement: 5.2 liters
Number of Cylinders: V-10
Cylinder Angle: 90 degrees
Bore x Stroke: 3.33 x 3.65 inches (84.5 x 92.8 mm)
Aspiration: Naturally aspirated
Maximum Horsepower: 560 at 8,000 RPM
Maximum Torque: 398.28 lb-ft. (540 Nm) at 6,500 RPM
Type: Six-Speed Sequential Manual
Drive: Quattro all-wheel
Acceleration 0-62 mph: 3.8 seconds
Top Speed: 196.97 mph (317 km/h)
Wheels, Suspension, and Brakes:
Front Wheels: 8.5J x 19
Rear Wheels: 11.5J x 19
Front Tires: 235/35
Rear Tires: 295/30
Optional Tires: 305/30 rear
Front Brakes: Six-piston aluminum calipers with 14.96 in (360 mm) carbon ceramic discs
Rear Brakes: Aluminum calipers with 14.2 in (356 mm) carbon ceramic discs
Suspension: Double-wishbone aluminum suspension borrowed from motorsport; 10 mm lower
Interior and Equipment:
-Sport bucket seats with GFRP chassis, CFRP option also available
-Roomy interior, exemplary ergonomics and top-quality workmanship
-Standard navigation system plus and automatic air conditioning system
-Innovative seatbelt microphone and other equipment and trim features available on request
Audi R8 GT Spyder Video
Audi R8 GT Spyder Gallery
Would you rather have the Audi R8 GT in coupe or Spyder form? Leave a comment and let us know!