The characteristics of that driveline, as well as for the throttle mapping, steering, exhaust system, optional adaptive dampers and gearbox, can be altered through Audi’s familiar Drive Select function. With a choice of Comfort, Auto and Dynamic for each parameter – in addition to three umbrella programmes for Dry, Wet and Snow – the permutations are plentiful, and an Individual mode usefully allows you to switch the car into your desired set-up at the press of a button.
What's it like?
Those of a shy disposition will abhor the suggestion, but we’d wager that all but the most steadfastly introverted readers would eventually give in to the charms of this steroidal roadster.
You need only lower the 44kg fabric roof and engage Dynamic mode along with the optional sports exhaust. Your right foot will do the rest, as it involuntarily sends the most soulful series-production powerplant on sale to its ear-splitting 8700rpm finale at every opportunity. Lifting out of the throttle offers no respite, functioning as little more than a cue for the engine to drench its exhaust manifold with fuel. The resultant pops and bang are decadent, disorderly and destined to raise a smile time after time.
The raw figures – 0-62mph in 3.3sec and a top speed of 203mph – are monstrous for a car that’ll happily cruise along with apathy of a Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion if that’s what you ask of it. The R8 Spyder V10 Plus feels good for them, too, not least because of that extraordinary exhaust note, which is overlaid with ever-present cam-scream. Thanks to the engine’s substantial displacement, pick-up is also effortlessly potent at seemingly any point in the rev range.
As we’ve come to expect, Audi’s seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission operates with crisp dexterity, swapping between one or more ratios at the flick of a paddle, of which we’d like a slightly more engaging action. Left in automatic mode, the car will drop gears with almost prescient haste if, say, an overtaking opportunity should unexpectedly arise, before returning the engine to hushed serenity in a similar fashion. Simply, engine and gearbox are a match made in heaven.
Indeed, increased proximity to the dry-sumped V10 Plus engine – stubbornly, wonderfully atmospheric as its rivals bolt for the turbos – is probably reason enough to buy this car. Which is just as well, because it can be difficult to make a case for it as a serious tool for enthusiasts. For one, moving the rear bulkhead forward to accommodate the roof mechanism means the seats will either go adequately low or extend adequately far back, but they will not do both. This car can therefore feel cramped inside, despite its clean-cut opulence – although not to the extent that most people wouldn’t eventually find a way to get comfortable. Committed drivers will nevertheless require a more natural position.