Audi R8 Spyder plus

Whenever Audi isn’t busy making fancy Volkswagens, the Ingolstadt marque gets busy making fancy Lamborghinis (not too busy though, because Sant’Agata’s supercar company only does about 3,500 cars a year). That’s a good thing, but when it isn’t good enough, Audi takes it up a notch with a ‘plus’, a badge that denotes one-upmanship in every department, be it power, performance, weight or price.

We’ve already seen the new Audi R8 mid-engined supercar that shares much with the Lamborghini Huracán, in both Coupé and Spyder form, but now Audi’s dropped its latest R8 Spyder V10 plus, the last bit of the name signifying a 600 horsepower V10 engine breathing free, peaking at 8,250rpm with 560Nm of torque at 6,500rpm. The plus weighs in 25kg lighter than a standard model, does 0-100kph in 3.3 seconds, and tops out at 327kph.

Audi says this is the company’s most powerful engine ever put in a production car, being about 70bhp up on the non-plus R8s. Other highlights include bucket seats and plenty of carbon fibre inside the Spyder plus, as well as ceramic brakes as standard kit and the option to spec this new green paint finish exclusively available with the new car. Orders are already starting to roll in, and Audi’s taking Dh700,000 for the R8 Spyder plus before you get creative with the personalisation options.

Adding to the already brilliant cabin is a lot of carbon fibre accents

Naturally there’s all-wheel drive on board, a dual-clutch ’box, and a trick electro-hydraulic clutch that splits torque where it’s needed, which means up to 100 per cent of it to the back if necessary. One of the few cost options on the car gets you magnetic ride suspension with adaptive dampers, to lower body roll in the corners and keep the car from squatting or diving under acceleration and braking. Dynamic steering with a speed-sensitive ratio is also available.

This being a Spyder the soft top is one of the car’s key features, with the roof system weighing 44kg in total. From closed to open the top takes 20 seconds to retract at speeds of up to 50kph. And then you’ve got a mere 277kph to go.

 

The McLaren’s roof is quicker than the Audi’s by a few seconds but the maximum speed at which it operates is lower than the R8’s

McLaren 570S Spider

In terms of performance, at least, it’s mighty close. Sure, the McLaren’s roof is five seconds quicker than the Audi’s taking 15 seconds from closed to open. Unlike the Audi’s soft-top, the McLaren’s two-piece roof is made of composite panels and stows away beneath a tonneau cover. But, the new 570S Spider only does so at speeds of up to 40kph, 10kph slower than the Audi, although it does manage to spell its name correctly. (The Audi uses the Italianised version, Spyder, otherwise the Italians would pronounce it ‘Speeder’.)

Where it really counts (on the comments sections of the internet), the latest drop-top British supercar has the Audi licked. With its 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged mid-mounted V8 engine and carbon-fibre monocoque tub as opposed to the Audi’s aluminium spaceframe construction, the 570S Spider weighs much less than the German supercar, with a 1,359kg dry figure which is a 46kg premium over the closed Mclaren 570S Coupé. From 0-100kph the McLaren just outruns the Audi with a time of 3.2 seconds, and goes on to a higher top speed, 328kph in fact, which is identical to the top speed of the 570S Coupé. If you’re going for V-max with the roof down, then you’ll be able to hit ‘only’ 315kph.

The Brit does all that with less power than the Audi too, 562bhp at 7,500rpm, although since it’s force fed it comfortably makes more torque even with two fewer cylinders, for a total of 600Nm between 5,000rpm and 6,000rpm.

With wheels knowing these two cars from previous experience with their Coupé counterparts, these numbers do in fact translate well from paper to the real world for once, since the McLaren 570S Spider is sure to be a wild ride under the sun, while the Audi offers the security of quattro all-wheel drive and good manners around town. Whichever you treat yourself to for the coming winter, there’s worse things than being torn between these two.