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2017 Audi R8 Spyder: New York Auto Show

What Is It?

After debuting the 2017 R8 Coupe in Geneva, New York plays host to the world premier of the 2017 Audi R8 Spyder. Like the coupe, the R8 Spyder sees considerable weight reduction, as well as more sinister styling. Aside from the retractable soft-top, the coupe and convertible differ on only a few visible points, such as the position of the engine vent. The retractable soft-top can be raised or lowered in a scant 20 seconds at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour.

For now, there is only one model in the R8 Spyder line. The R8 Spyder uses the same engine as the coupe, a normally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 that’s good for 540 horsepower. Zero-to-60 runs come in at 3.6 seconds, and top speed is estimated to be just shy of 200 mph. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission routes power to all four wheels. No word yet if the R8 Spyder will get the coupe’s Plus trim that brings a more robust 610 hp.

Inside, the R8 Spyder delights with a set of thickly bolstered sport seats, soft-touch leather surfaces and a thickly padded sport steering wheel, housing numerous controls, including the drive select settings for comfort, auto and dynamic modes. Also on board is Audi’s configurable virtual cockpit that replaces traditional analog gauges with digital recreations.

How Much?

Around $180,000 to start

When Can You Get It?

Fall 2016

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

As exotic supercars go, the 2017 Audi R8 Spyder is a relative bargain. It has more high-tech features than a comparable Ferrari or Lamborghini, and its performance is a bit more aggressive than an Aston Martin DB9 GT. You can get the same performance for less in a Porsche 911 Turbo, Jaguar F-TYPE or Chevrolet Corvette Z06, but all lack the exclusivity of the R8 design.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Aston Martin DB9 GT Volante — The DB9 GT Volante is a sophisticated and refined exotic car that’s more about luxury than performance (but no less exhilarating to drive).

2016 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet — The 911 Turbo is every bit the equal of the base R8 Spyder, and it exhibits a more playful attitude when pushed hard through the curves.

2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 — The Corvette may not be as exclusive as the R8 Spyder, but it delivers an amazing performance for the money ratio. Plus it’s got that whole “home-grown pride” thing going for it.

2016 Ferrari 488 Spider — When it comes to making an impression — be it at the track or in front of the most exclusive nightclub in town — there is nothing quite like the Ferrari 488 Spider. Of course, the 488 is much harder to obtain than the R8 Spyder, and it will cost you more, too.

Used McLaren 650S — If you can find a used McLaren, it’s still going to cost you a pretty penny, but giving it the edge over Audi’s refined interior and controls is a track performance that is simply breathtaking.

Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More

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