One year ago, Audi unveiled the R8
GT in coupe form as the new flagship model of the R8 model line.
It wasn’t long before all 333 units in the limited series were
sold out. Now the open-top version of the high-performance
sports car is being launched, with production again capped at
333 units. Each car sports a tag with its individual number on
the gear lever knob.
The Audi ultra lightweight
technology is the key to the R8 GT Spyder’s weight of just 1,640
kilograms (3,615.58 lb). That’s 85 kilograms (187.39 lb) less
than its technical basis, the R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro. The
Audi Space Frame (ASF) body, consisting of cast nodes, extruded
sections and aluminum panels, accounts for just 214 kilograms
(471.79 lb) of the total weight. The body is assembled
predominantly by hand in the R8 workshop at the Neckarsulm
plant. Final assembly of the car takes place in the same way.
The engine frame is made of
ultra-light magnesium; the long cover over the soft-top
compartment and the large side panels at the rear are made of
carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). CFRP is also used for
the modified front spoiler, the fixed rear spoiler and the new
rear bumper. Together, these components provide a weight saving
of 5.5 kilograms (12.13 lb).
Visual modifications accentuate
the styling of the R8 GT Spyder. These include add-on parts in
contrasting titanium gray, a front splitter with a dual lip,
flics at the sides of the front bumper, red GT badges, round
exhaust tailpipes, an enlarged diffuser and dark LED tail lights
in a clear-glass design. Audi offers an optional windshield
frame in matt CFRP.
Audi engineers also trimmed weight
from the technical components in the area of the transmission,
wheels and brakes. In the interior, the bucket seats alone, with
their chassis of glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP), saved
31.5 kilograms (69.45 lb) of weight.
In classic Audi fashion, the R8 GT
Spyder features a lightweight fabric soft top that is extremely
quiet and fully suitable for highway cruising. Its
electrohydraulic drive brings it up or down in 19 seconds, even
at speeds up to 50 km/h (31.07 mph). The extendible glass rear
window is nestled in the bulkhead, separate from the soft top.
Integrated in the bulkhead is a rollover protection system
comprising two pretensioned plates.
Prodigious power: the drivetrain
The performance offered by the new top-of-the-line model in the
R8 family is formidable. The 5.2-liter V10 with an aluminum
crankcase draws its fuel from an FSI direct injection system.
Dry-sump lubrication ensures a reliable supply of oil even under
maximum lateral or straight-line acceleration.
With its modified electronic
management, the long-stroke engine produces 540 Nm (398.28
lb-ft) of torque at 6,500 rpm, and its peak output is 412 kW
(560 hp). Each unit of horsepower has only 2.93 kilograms (6.46
lb) to move.
The R8 GT Spyder catapults from
zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 3.8 seconds and reaches a top
speed of 317 km/h (196.97 mph). In every situation, the engine
impresses with its thrust and bite – and that unmistakable sound
of an Audi ten-cylinder.
The R8 GT Spyder comes standard
with an automated six-speed R tronic transmission with two fully
automatic modes. In the additional manual mode, the driver can
shift gears using the paddles on the steering wheel or by
flicking the joystick. At high load and revs, gear changes take
only one-tenth of a second. The launch control program manages
the starting sprint with high engine speed and precision-control
of the tire slip.
The quattro permanent all-wheel
drive has a strong rear-wheel bias, granted by the axle load
distribution. If the situation calls for it, the system sends
additional torque to the front axle. In tandem with the limited
slip differential at the rear, it provides an added measure of
traction, stability and cornering speed, giving it a strong lead
over the rear-wheel-drive competition.
The suspension, too, is unrivaled
in its performance. Aluminum double wishbones locate the wheels,
and the rack-and-pinion power steering provides intimate contact
with the road. Taut tuning lowers the body by approximately 10
millimeters (0.39 in). The open high-performance sports car has
19-inch wheels, with 235/35 tires up front and 295/30 tires at
the rear. The large, lightweight carbon-fiber ceramic brake
discs decelerate the car with supreme ease. The ESP
stabilization program has a sport mode and can also be
Pure comfort: the interior and
equipment Great attention to detail is evident in the materials
and workmanship inside the car. The salient aspect of the
controls is their logically structured design. The open
two-seater offers a roomy interior, and its front end can
accommodate up to 100 liters (3.53 cu. ft) of cargo. The rear
bulkhead houses three storage compartments.
The interior is black and can be
adorned with stitching in a choice of titanium gray or crimson
for added refinement. Alcantara upholstery comes standard – on
the sport steering wheel and windshield frame, too.
Audi also offers leather in Fine
Nappa quality. Numerous details – including white dials and R8
GT logos – provide classy accents. The distinctive R8 “monoposto,”
a large arch encircling the driver’s cockpit, is made of matt
Audi ultra requires no sacrifice
on the part of R8 GT Spyder owners. The standard equipment
includes LED headlights, LED tail lights, an automatic air
conditioning system, the navigation system plus, an alarm system
and the driver information system with a built-in laptimer.
Audi also offers a sophisticated
sound system from Bang & Olufsen and a Bluetooth interface
including a seatbelt microphone for carrying on a phone
conversation conveniently. Options specific to the R8 GT include
bucket seats with a carbon-fiber composite chassis, matt CFRP
applications and embroidered logos on the seat upholstery.
The R8 GT Spyder will have a base
price in Germany of 207,800 euros.
(June 3, 2011)