What's the news?
Audi has done the decent thing and inserted the more powerful 610hp version of the monumental 5.2-litre V10 engine into the R8 Spyder, giving us a new 'plus' model.
While the second-gen Coupe R8 has always had 540hp 'regular' versions and then the 610hp plus, the Spyder has had to make do with just the former - up until now.
That headline power figure teams up to 560Nm of torque, giving the R8 Spyder plus some serious punch. The 0-100km/h time is trimmed 0.3 seconds from the 540hp model to stand at 3.3 seconds all-in, while top speed is up 10km/h to 328km/h. Audi quotes fuel consumption of 11.7 litres/100km (20.1mpg) with 277g/km of CO2 emissions.
As with all R8s, quattro all-wheel drive is fitted and a seven-speed S tronic gearbox channels the V10's grunt to the axles. Carbon ceramic brakes are standard-fit on the Spyder plus and it features plenty of carbon fibre on various parts of its body to identify it as the more potent R8 soft-top. However, it lacks for the fixed rear wing that is a trademark of the 610hp version of the Coupe.
Like the existing 540hp Spyder, the roof on the plus is fabric and can be raised or lowered in just 20 seconds, including on the move at speeds of up to 50km/h. At 1,695kg, it's actually 25kg lighter than the lesser-powered car, thanks to those fancy brakes, forged alloy wheels and slimmer R8 bucket seats in the cabin.
Perhaps the most obvious addition to the Spyder canon, obvious from these photos, is the colour. It's called the Micrommata Green Design Package and it doesn't just finish the Audi's body in the lurid shade; it also brings in green contrast stitching to the cabin and an Anthracite Grey Singleframe grille up front.
Stephan Winkelmann, managing director of Audi Sport GmbH, said: "The Audi R8 Spyder V10 plus completes the R8 model line. The Spyder is now also available as a 610hp top version, in addition to the Coupe. It benefits from our many years of experience in motorsport and combines breath-taking dynamics with the emotion of an open-top sports car."
Orders for the R8 Spyder plus are being taken now. If confirmed for Ireland, it will cost well in excess of the 540hp version's €257,900 starting ticket.