Audi R8 V10 Spyder

2 Nov, 2012 11:45am Mat Watson

Our verdict on the facelifted Audi R8 V10 Spyder, which gets a slick new seven-speed S tronic 'box


The Audi R8 V10 Spyder was almost perfect before this facelift, but it was always spoiled by the clunky R tronic auto. The slick new seven-speed S tronic rectifies this and helps improve emissions and performance in the process. Small cosmetic changes keep the R8 fresh, and ensure this remains one of the best all-round supercars on sale.

We already love the R8 V10 Spyder, but Audi has tweaked its drop-top supercar to make it even more appealing.

Extended Nappa leather upholstery is now standard, while Audi has fitted some wave-style brake discs (to help improve cooling) and a set of redesigned LED headlamps. The latter add to the car’s already considerable presence on the road, although the major visual change at the rear is less successful.

Gone are the oval tailpipes, replaced by circular exhausts. The V8 model gets these, too, which means you can no longer tell how many cylinders an R8 has by its exhausts alone. Thankfully, you can from the sound they emit.

While Audi has significantly increased the specification of the V8 to make it better value, we think it’s still worth the extra £21,000 to have a Lamborghini-sourced V10 centimetres behind your ears. And there is no better way to experience the howling engine than with the roof down.

For us, it’s this sensory richness that makes the V10 Spyder the pick of the R8 range. But the added performance is quite a bonus. With 518bhp on tap, the V10 Spyder takes just 4.1 seconds to go from 0-62mph.

Upgrade to the excellent seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto, which features launch control, and that drops to 3.8 seconds. The new box really suits the V10 Spyder, and it’s a massive improvement over the jerky old single-clutch R tronic.

And thankfully, among all the tweaks Audi has carried out to the R8, it hasn’t changed what has always made the V10 Spyder so great: the fact that it feels just as taut, surefooted, comfortable and easy to drive as the Coupe. Really.

The only drawback of the soft-top is that you can’t fit a set of golf clubs behind the seats. But why would you want to spend your spare time out on the golf course when you could be driving around listening to 10 cylinders howling away at a heady 8,000rpm?

Key specs

  • Price: £124,225
  • Engine: 5.2-litre V10
  • Power: 518bhp
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62/top speed: 3.8 secs/193mph
  • Economy: 21.1mpg
  • CO2: 310g/km
  • Equipment: Nappa leather, Magnetic Ride suspension, sat-nav, Bang and Olusfen stereo
  • On sale: Now