by Michael Butler
The Audi R8 Spider is the drop-top version of the brand's successful R8 supercar. It not only looks more dramatic but the sound of that wonderful V10 is further amplified. With the roof down and that 562-horsepower naturally-aspirated V10 engine howling behind your ear, there is little that can match this car for drama in the price range. If you go for the quattro all-wheel-drive variant, it makes 602 hp and needs only 3.2 seconds for the 0-60 run. The R8 shares its underpinnings with the equally brilliant Lamborghini Huracan, which means you get capable handling, although the R8 Spyder has been tuned to be more forgiving. The drop-top does little to impact overall performance, but competitors such as the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet are ultimately better to drive at the limit. Viewed as the ultimate daily supercar driver, you won't miss the capability of some of the Audi R8 Spyder's competitors. And, with production of the R8 ending after 2023, this is one of your last chances to get hold of a non-electrified supercar from Audi.
Although Audi will bid farewell to the R8 with a GT coupe, that's not the case for the Spyder which won't receive a GT variant. To that end, no major changes have been introduced for the R8 Spyder for this model year.
In our review of the Audi R8 Spyder, we'll see why no changes were necessary - this is a memorable supercar and a fine farewell to the ICE era at the top of Audi's range.
See trim levels and configurations:
The 2023 Audi R8 Spyder is a capable car in standard hardtop configuration, but even with a tin top, it is focused more on delivering a sporty yet comfortable ride and doesn't go all out on track-day handling. Add a drop-top, and the R8 Spyder becomes an even more relaxed car to drive. When we say relaxed, it should be taken in context: this is still a supercar with crisp responses and grip aplenty. The adaptive suspension does an excellent job of smoothing over some of the USA's harsher roads and stiffens up a treat when placed in a sporty driving mode. The steering is direct and offers good feedback, as do the brakes. Dynamic steering is available optionally, but when pushed hard on the track, the R8 stops short of the fluidity and confidence inherent in its Porsche rival. That's not to say that the Audi is remotely sloppy, but if it's the most dynamic drop-top you're after, this isn't it.
What the Porsche lacks is the sonorous soundtrack of the Audi's V10. Making up to 602 hp, it sounds wonderful, provides shattering acceleration, and has the progressive power delivery that is the mark of a naturally aspirated mill.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The new Audi R8 Spyder proves that you don't have to sacrifice comfort when buying a supercar, and 0-60 mph times and Nurburgring lap times aren't that supercar ownership is about. In fact, the Audi R8 Spyder teaches us that driving a super cool-looking V10 supercar can actually be enjoyable on a daily basis. The second-generation R8 Spyder looks better than ever before and sounds just as good, thanks to that gem of a V10 engine which doesn't rely on either electrification or forced induction to work its magic. The standard adaptive suspension makes it a pleasure to drive in the city and on the highway, and the interior is both refined and packaged with tech. Yes, the handling is not best in class, and there is little cargo space to speak of, but these are small sacrifices for what has to be the most comfortable drop-top supercar around.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Audi R8 Spyder: