As much as the R8 Spyder is designed to accommodate, its marching orders are to thrill. Directly behind the cockpit, a 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 engine converts combustion into eye-watering acceleration and ear-phoric sound (we ran out of real words to describe it). Numbers: 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque; 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, 198 mph top speed; 8,500 rpm redline; 17 combined mpg.
Unlocking the engine’s music box is as simple as hammering the throttle, but accessing the R8’s performance potential takes a couple more steps. Audi’s drive select system tunes steering weight, throttle response, and suspension damping according to three pre-set drive modes and one custom selection. Additionally, the seven-speed dual clutch gearbox features standard drive mode, sport mode (faster shifts, longer gear holds), and full manual mode. Shifting on your own is possible via the gear selector itself or via the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system is a marvel. Even with traction control in less restrictive “Sport” mode, the car’s unflinching grip and stability creates boundless confidence. Amplifying the assurance and engagement is a hyper-responsive steering system and muscular braking.
- Daily: $1,650
- Weekly: $10,970
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