2021 Audi R8 Spyder

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Review: Supercar Royalty

It is hard to believe that the Audi R8 has been around since 2006, but now in its second-generation, the 2021 Audi R8 Spyder has proven to be one of the most accessible and capable sports cars around. The German machine easily competes with established manufacturers such as Ferrari and McLaren, not just for visual drama but for auditory effect, too, giving it a reason to lay claim to the title of being a true supercar. The R8 Spyder offers all of the hardtop car's dynamic capability but drops the top, and that magnificent V10 makes all of its 602 horsepower - in Performance guise - heard. The R8 might not be as dynamically capable as competitors such as the McLaren 570S Spider, but it's comfortable, boasts an excellent infotainment system, and can be used as a daily driver.

Read in this review:

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 R8 Spyder?

For 2021, Audi has made the entry-level R8 Spyder a rear-wheel-drive model. To get all four wheels spinning, you'll have to opt for the more expensive but faster R8 Performance model that packs a 602-hp punch. Performance models also get a new interior design package.

Pros and Cons

  • Stunning exterior design
  • Premium interior
  • Gorgeous engine noise
  • Drop top doesn't significantly impact performance
  • It isn't light on fuel
  • What cargo space?
  • Some rivals are more entertaining

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
5.2 V10 RWD
5.2L V10 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$154,900
5.2 V10 performance quattro
5.2L V10 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$208,100

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Exterior

The convertible version of the Audi R8 is an edgy beast, somewhere between '80s Japanese manga cartoon and futuristic sci-fi film. The R8 Performance model features a lower front trim that is finished in matte titanium color, with an option to select carbon fiber. The Performance model also features carbon fiber mirror housings, a rear spoiler, and side blades. The car rolls on a set of 20-inch five-V-spoke-Evo design, bi-color anthracite wheels wrapped in 245/30 front and 305/30 rear summer tires. The new RWD model features high-gloss black side sill inserts, a gloss black front blade, and the side blades are finished in Mythos black with chrome exhaust tips. All models get full LED headlights at the front, and in the back, you'll find dual exhaust outlets and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals. The Audi rings can be painted black as an option on R8 V10 Performance models.

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Front View Audi
2021 Audi R8 Spyder Rear View Audi
2021 Audi R8 Spyder Open Top Audi
See All 2021 Audi R8 Spyder Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Measuring in at 174.4 inches, the Audi R8 Spyder looks longer than its dimensions suggest, and its 104.3-inch wheelbase places each tire neatly in a corner, partly explaining the car's impressive handling. The R8 Spyder is 48.9 inches tall and 80.2 inches wide when one includes the side mirrors. The front track is 64.8 inches, and the rear track is 63 inches. With a curb weight of up to 3,847 lbs in AWD form, the Audi R8 Spyder is no featherweight.

  • Length 174.4 in
  • Wheelbase 104.3 in
  • Height 48.9 in
  • Max Width 76.4 in
  • Front Width 64.8 in
  • Rear Width 63.0 in
  • Curb Weight 3,847.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Florett Silver Metallic
  • Kemora Gray Metallic
  • Mythos Black Metallic
  • Suzuka Gray Metallic
  • Daytona Gray Pearl Effect
  • Tango Red Metallic
  • Ascari Blue Metallic
  • Ara Blue Crystal Effect
  • Ibis White
  • Vegas Yellow

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Performance

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Front View Driving Audi
2021 Audi R8 Spyder Open Top 1 Audi
2021 Audi R8 Spyder Wheel Audi

Engine and Transmission

What would a supercar be without a seriously badass engine? Well, you don't really get any better than a naturally-aspirated, Lamborghini-sourced 5.2 liter V10. This powerplant not only sounds heavenly but produces the goods too: in standard form, it belts out 532 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, sent exclusively to the rear end. But go for the AWD quattro Performance model, and those figures creep up to 602 hp and 413 lb-ft. In both cases, power is sent to the wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. In Performance guise, the R8 Spyder will run from 0-60 mph in only 3.3 seconds, while the RWD variant takes four-tenths longer. Keep your foot in it, and you'll see the needle close in on a top speed of 204 mph in a hurry, or 200 mph in RWD form.

  • Engine
    5.2L V10 Gas
  • Transmission
    7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

There are plenty of supercars out there that offer near race car levels of handling capability, and for some, that works just fine, but out in the real world, driving such hardcore machines gets real old, real quick, and many tend to settle for something a bit more accommodating sooner rather than later. The Audi R8 has been called 'sterile' and, when compared to some competitors, does not feel as dynamically talented, but for the overwhelming majority, the R8 Spyder will provide more than enough thrills and spills. The R8 Spyder manages to be a comfortable daily driver, soaking up low-speed bumps without much complaint, but can switch personalities at the touch of a button. It may not be a 488 Pista, but it will still give you the ride of a lifetime.

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Gas Mileage

If you're reading this, it must be because you're wondering just how bad the damage is going to be with power specs rated between 500 and 600 hp. With a naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine under your right foot, gas mileage is never going to be impressive. If this in any way influences your decision to buy an R8 Spyder, then you don't deserve one. According to the EPA, the Spyder will manage 14/23/17 mpg city/highway/combined in RWD guise and the AWD Performance model will achieve 13/20/16 mpg, but the slightest hint of spirited driving will see those numbers plummet faster than this R8's drop-top. Fill up the R8 Spyder's 21.9-gallon tank with premium gas, and you should see a max range of 372 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    21.1 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 14/23 mpg
* 2021 Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 V10 RWD Spyder

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Interior

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Dashboard Audi
2021 Audi R8 Spyder Gauge Cluster Audi
2021 Audi R8 Spyder Gear Shifter Audi
See All 2021 Audi R8 Spyder Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

It goes without saying that you won't be able to fit two Tinder dates within the cabin of the R8 Spyder, so you'll have to make an executive decision between the 7 with a great personality or the 10 that doesn't know where Australia is on a map. Seriously though, the R8 offers ample leg and headroom for taller passengers, and while the seats might not be full race-spec, they offer enough support for spirited driving, and the driving position is spot on. Visibility is good all-round thanks to Audi's Virtual Cockpit system, and drivers will feel fully in control thanks to a well-thought-out dashboard design that puts everything within easy reach. Want unlimited headroom? At the press of a button, the fabric soft-top folds away in 20 seconds at up to 31 mph.

  • Seating capacity
    2-seater
  • Front Head Room 38.5 in

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Trunk and Cargo Space

If you want to own an Audi that's scary fast, and can carry enough groceries for the wife and kids, then your best bet will be an RS6 Avant. If you want to go even faster and look (arguably) cooler, then the R8 Spyder is the one to go for, just don't complain when you can barely fit your gym bag in the cargo area. The 2021 R8 Sypder offers a frunk with eight cubic feet of storage space, but its odd shape will limit the size of goodies you can fit in there. There is not much to write home in the cabin: the driver and passenger get a small phone tray in the center console, two cupholders, and a small glove box.

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Dashboard 1 Audi
2021 Audi R8 Spyder Front Seats Audi
2021 Audi R8 Spyder Central Console Audi
  • Trunk Volume
    4 ft³

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Infotainment and Features

Supercars tend to offer little in terms of advanced tech features and instead focus on sheer driving pleasure. Audi has included a few basics in the R8 Spyder, but nothing close to what you'd get in one of its larger sedans or RS cars. The Spyder gets exterior features such as a power-operated soft-top, active exhaust, LED headlights, adaptive dampers, auto-dimming side mirrors, and rain-sensing window wipers. On the inside, this German supercar includes features such as dual-zone climate control, cruise control, 18-way power-adjustable heated seats, a reverse camera, navigation, and possibly the R8's best interior feature of all, the virtual cockpit instrument cluster.

Features

Supercars tend to offer little in terms of advanced tech features and instead focus on sheer driving pleasure. Audi has included a few basics in the R8 Spyder, but nothing close to what you'd get in one of its larger sedans or RS cars. The Spyder gets exterior features such as a power-operated soft-top, active exhaust, LED headlights, adaptive dampers, auto-dimming side mirrors, and rain-sensing window wipers. On the inside, this German supercar includes features such as dual-zone climate control, cruise control, 18-way power-adjustable heated seats, a reverse camera, navigation, and possibly the R8's best interior feature of all, the virtual cockpit instrument cluster.

Infotainment

Placing an infotainment system in the Audi R8 Spyder cabin was a futile gesture, as owners won't be interested in listening to Ja Rule if they can get to listen to that Lamborghini-shared V10 with the top open. Audi does have to supply a system, however, and the one on offer in the R8 is not bad at all. Everything is controlled from the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display behind the steering wheel and features Bluetooth streaming SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and an optional 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. The steering wheel controls most of the basic infotainment system functions, and the overall experience is slick and intuitive, and easy to get used to.

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Problems and Reliability

There's some good news for new buyers: the 2021 Spyder is yet to face a recall. Unfortunately, the pre-facelift model R8 Spyder did suffer from its fair share of issues, including airbag issues and leaky transmission vent hoses. Audi covers the 2021 Spyder with a basic four-year/50,000-mile warranty, which also covers the drivetrain, and you also get four years of roadside assistance.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Safety

The Audi supercar's safety has not been tested in the USA; as it stands, there is no NHTSA review of the Audi R8 Spyder, and the IIHS has no safety record of the vehicle either. The good news is that Audi knows how to build safe cars, and with massive brakes, advanced traction control, a reverse camera, and LED headlights, as well as a full complement of dual front and side airbags, the R8 Spyder should prove to be very safe.

Verdict: 🏁Is the new Audi R8 Spyder a good sports car?

When it comes to supercars, the market is flooded with all kinds of insanely capable offerings, and the drop-top scene is just as competitive. What makes the Audi R8 Spyder so good is that it strikes a balance that few of its competitors can match: anyone with a pair of eyes will agree that this is one stunning machine, especially after the last refresh, and will definitely draw the attention of passers-by, but this car's crowning jewel has to be its V10 engine. There are few cars on the road today then emit such a glorious song, and you'll soon forget about the excellent Audi Virtual Cockpit infotainment system as soon as you punch the loud pedal. The Audi is also one of the more comfortable cars to live within in this class and provides some usable cargo space. It might not be as dynamically astute as some, but this car will still be more than a handful for those getting into the supercar scene.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Audi R8 Spyder convertible?

Mid-engined V10 supercars don't come cheap, especially when the roof also comes off, and as a drop-top sports car the new R8 Spyder is no different. The 2021 Audi R8 Spyder goes for an MSRP of $154,900 excluding tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,495. Opting for the AWD version is a different story altogether: this car goes for an MSRP of $208,100, making it almost as expensive as a McLaren 570S Spider. Fully loaded, the price of the Audi R8 Spyder will reach just shy of $240k.

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Models

See All 2021 Audi R8 Spyder Trims and Specs

🚗What 2021 Audi R8 Spyder Model Should I Buy?

The main choice prospective buyers will have when it comes to the new 2021 Audi R8 Spyder is whether they want the rear wheels or all four wheels to spin. The RWD car is slightly down on performance but is still just as capable for most drivers, and the best selling point is that it is tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than its higher-spec sibling. This car will suffice for the majority of buyers but for those who want maximum performance and that wind-in-your-hair feeling, the V10 performance trim has to be the one to go for. The added performance does come with a price hike of over $50,000, but from our review, it's worth the extra expense.

Check out other Audi R8 Styles

2021 Audi R8 Spyder Comparisons

BMW i8 Roadster BMW
Acura NSX CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Audi R8 Spyder532 hp14/23 mpg$154,900
BMW i8 Roadster 369 hpTBC$163,300
Acura NSX 573 hp21/22 mpg$157,500

2021 Audi R8 Spyder vs BMW i8 Roadster

Whereas the Audi R8 Spyder blows you away with its howling V10 engine, the BMW i8 Roadster will impress with its innovative powertrain and efficiency, all while delivering exhilarating performance. The i8 is by far the slower car and produces only 369 hp from its turbo 1.5-liter petrol engine and electric motors. This means a zero to sixty sprint time of 4.4 seconds. That's almost one full second behind the Audi. On the road, the BMW doesn't feel as sharp or enjoyable to drive but is comfortable nonetheless, and the fact that you can chug along on electric-only power in the i8 should also count for something. If it is performance driving you're after, the difference is night and day: sure, the cost of the Audi R8 Spyder is over $30k more, but that V10 engine and simple driving pleasure of the Audi makes up for it.

See BMW i8 Roadster Review

2021 Audi R8 Spyder vs Acura NSX

When the Acura NSX first came out in its current form, we were skeptical of its hybrid powertrain. It was one of the first mainstream supercars to employ such a system and has proven to be more than capable of seeing off its foes. In fact, the Acura NSX is the faster car between the two. Its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, mounted behind the passengers, delivers 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque and sends its power through a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission on all four wheels, resulting in a blistering zero to sixty sprint of 2.7 seconds and a top speed of 191 mph. The NSX feels sharper and keener on driver input on the road, despite carrying the extra weight of its hybrid batteries. Where the Audi outshines the NSX is in the cabin; Audi's virtual cockpit outclasses the system in the NSX, and the interior design just feels more special. The NSX costs more or less the same as the base R8 Spyder, but is only available as a coupe. No efficiency and performance can beat the sound of that V10 engine, however.

See Acura NSX Review

Audi R8 Spyder Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Audi R8 Spyder:

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