Among the big news for the all-new model is its new stiffer chassis, with torsional rigidity improving by more than 50 percent over the previous model. The new base is made up of carbon-fibre and aluminium.
Performance improvements are also aided by the R8 Spyder’s new dry weight, which has fallen 113kg to 1612kg.
Lightweight is also the recipe for the folding roof - which is made from cloth and can be lowered or raised in around 20 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h.
The rear window can be lowered separately from the roof, which allows it to be removed even when the roof is in place.
Power comes from a 5.2 litre V10 naturally-aspirated petrol engine producing 397kW and 540Nm, matched with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters, sending drive to all four wheels.
The 100km/h mark comes up in 3.6 seconds, and the Spyder has a top speed of 318km/h. These figures mean the Spyder is 0.1 seconds and 2km/h slower than the R8 coupe. No ‘Plus’ version of the Spyder is on the cards at this stage.
Audi's 12.3-inch "Virtual Cockpit" display is the centrepiece of the cabin, and like the Audi TT merges the infotainment display and instrument panel into the one sleek reconfigurable unit.
That frees up space on the centre stack to move the ventilation controls further up and add some extra centre console storage, while the deletion of the conventional parking brake gives up enough real estate to put the MMI Touch controller behind the gear selector.
Audi says the open space between the driver and the elements with the roof folded means the Spyder delivers a “more intense experience” when compared to the coupe.
Ahead of the 2017 R8 Spyder’s local launch, Audi customers will first have the chance to sample the all-new R8 coupe when it arrives in Australia later this year.
Pricing for the 2017 Spyder is yet to be confirmed, but the current model starts at $315,510 for the S-tronic automatic model. However, price-cuts for the coupe may see cheaper starting prices for the Spyder as well.
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