2017 Audi R8 Spyder V10 is a ten-cylinder salute to open-top motoring
Audi's R8 has returned for a second-generation encore, and the new V-10-powered Spyder is drawing crowds in New York.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Audi's second-generation R8 sports car has powered into the New York Auto Show sans roof, all 10 of its cylinders gloriously wailing. Dubbed the R8 Spyder as before, the mid-engined supermodel shares much of its chassis and all-wheel-drive bits with the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder -- not exactly a bad bloodline.
The new R8 Spyder is 0.6 inches shorter than its predecessor, but despite having the same overall height as the first-generation model, it looks lower than before, in part because it stretches 1.4 inches wider.
As expected, Audi has once again eschewed a complex and weighty folding hardtop in favor of a powered fabric solution which weighs 97 pounds all-in. The top -- available in black, brown or red -- can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour in 20 seconds, and there's an integrated wind deflector to keep from ruining your expensive new haircut.
2017 Audi R8 Spyder V10 is a topless mid-engined wonder (pictures)
The new roadster is therefore a bit heavier than its hard-hatted coupe counterpart, but it's 50 percent stiffer and still has plenty of thrust -- 8.6 horsepower per pound, says Audi. The high-revving 5.2-liter V-10 produces a full 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, enough to hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and power on to nearly 200 mph.
If you want a manual transmission, you're out of luck: Only a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters is offered, but at least it affords fuel-saving freewheeling (wherein the engine is decoupled from the driveline) when not under acceleration.
No word yet on pricing or ETA, but don't expect to see the R8's nifty optional laser headlamps in the US -- Washington still hasn't come to terms with a lot of the auto industry's latest lighting technology.