Video: Audi R8 Spyder

Taking the roof off the R8 meant reinforcing the V10 sports car's spaceframe while still maintaining performance and efficiency

With performance needing to be balanced against efficiency many of Audi’s competitors have shifted to downsized vee-engines, typically using turbocharged V8 units. It’s a powertrain setup that Audi is well used to, having used twin-charged V8s in some of its RS models. But according to the firm, although different engines were considered for the R8, none matched the criteria for performance, and importantly, emotional appeal, that the naturally-aspirated V10 gasoline unit provided.

The Spyder’s 5,204cc unit produces 397kW/540Nm, can spin up to 8,700rpm and can reach 100km/h in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 318km/h. But although outright performance will always be important for consumers who buy vehicles like the R8 Spyder, there is now also greater emphasis on efficiency too.

“Compared with the previous model, NEDC fuel consumption has declined by 10% thanks to efficiency technologies. The cylinder on demand system deactivates one cylinder bank at low to intermediate load, and the dual injection system injects fuel directly in to the combustion chambers and into the induction pipe as needed,” says Audi.

The R8 Spyder also benefits from a stop-start system meaning that the R8 Spyder consumes 11.7litres/100km and emits 277g/km CO2.