When Audi first unveiled its new R8 Spyder with an incredible 5.2-liter V-10, we suspected that a V-8 version would eventually join the lineup. Today, Audi confirmed the sweet V-8's arrival and released the specifications on its R8 Spyder 4.2 droptop.
We spent a year with an R8 4.2 coupe and absolutely loved the car. Our car sent 420 horsepower through a six-speed manual transmission, but the R8 Spyder 4.2 gets a slight bump in power to 430 horsepower. Torque output, however, remains unchanged at 317 pound-feet.
The biggest change to the R8 4.2 Spyder, is of course, the retractable fabric top. In the conversion process from coupe to Spyder, the R8 coupe's signature side blades have been eliminated -- as in the 5.2 Spyder -- and a new innovation allows the Bluetooth connectivity system to function with the top down, thanks to seatbelt and windshield-mounted microphones.
According to Audi, the R8 4.2 Spyder will do 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds, 0.4 seconds behind the R8 4.2 coupe, thanks to the added weight of the folding roof mechanism. As with the coupe, the Spyder can be had with either a six-speed manual or six-speed, single-clutch R-tronic automatic transmission.
Audi's signature Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard and features a 15/85 front/rear torque split. A total of 30 percent of the R8's power can be sent to the front wheels, should the rear wheels lose traction. A locking rear differential further increases the car's handling prowess.
Hidden in the R8 4.2 Spyder's specifications is a revelation: Despite the added weight, it's actually more fuel-efficient than the coupe, thanks to the Spyder's standard regenerative braking. According to Audi, manual transmission Spyders return 16 U.S. mpg combined, and 17 U.S. mpg combined for the R-tronic, versus 15 U.S. mpg combined for both transmissions in the coupe.
Audi's new R8 Spyder 4.2 rolls into European showrooms in the third-quarter of 2010 at a price of €121,000 ($148,500), about €35,400 ($43,400) less than the 5.2 Spyder. U.S. on sale dates and pricing have yet to be announced.
Note: The pictures are of an Audi R8 Spyder 5.2, as 4.2 images have yet to be released. The largest differences are the wheels, and four round exhaust tips of the V-8 coupe, rather than the two ovals of the V-10 model.