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2017 Audi R8 V10 Spyder Drivers' Notes | The everyday supercar

Autoblog Staff

The second-generation Audi R8 V10 Spyder carries on all of the wonderful traits of the first model. It's both fast and comfortable, the kind of all-rounder than you could only dream about a decade or two ago. While some of us may miss the V8 and gated manual shifter, the 540 horsepower V10 and dual-clutch are still a wonderful combination.

This model has a number of upgrades, including a carbon fiber trim package and 20-inch wheels. The convertible top was a nice bonus during fall. All the better to hear that 5.2-liter monster resting in the middle.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I spent a night in the Audi R8 V10 Spyder, and it's always a riot, if you want it to be. Cuing up dynamic mode and blasting away from a stoplight is a heart-pounding experience. But when I was stuck in rush-hour traffic, I was perfectly content. The only tradeoff is ride height and visibility. It's a little hard to see out of this thing, and you're basically sitting on the ground. Otherwise, the suspension is civilized, and even cruising at semi-legal highway speeds is a buttoned-down experience.

I love the looks of the R8. It stands out with distinct styling that gives Audi a true design halo. I found myself sipping coffee and staring at it during a photo/video shoot. The red paint is a little over the top, but hey, it's a supercar. And the y-design wheels are a nice complement. It's audacious without being insane. I really like the V10, naturally. It's sneaky loud. I realized this when I got in the car the next morning and the radio volume was cranked. It you're a professional athlete, actor or just flat-out rich — the V10 R8 should be on your shopping list.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: It's been a while since I've driven the Audi R8, and I didn't expect to like it as much as when I got to use the gated manual shifter in the first-gen car. I was wrong. Thing's even more amazing now, if slightly less quirky. And, even though it was raining the whole time I had it, the Spyder's convertible top made it even more fun.

While the wide-open experience is probably marvelous, the soft top kept me dry while letting in just a bit more noise from the ferocious V10 sitting right behind my head. The sound it makes when it instantaneously responds to the throttle input, screaming upwards of 8,000 rpm, is hair-raising. This car is simply amazing to rev up. I was able to skip my cup of coffee after my commute. But I was still able to listen to NPR on the radio at low volume and hear just fine when traffic became congested and I ran out of room to play with the powertrain.

It's not the most comfortable car. The seats are hard, the suspension is unforgiving in dynamic mode, and there's precious little room to rest your left foot. Still, it's a hoot to drive, and it inspires confidence. Even with the top up, we had a great view in almost every direction, making it easy to point the way through gaps in traffic or avoid a careening commuter with their eyes on their phone (a quick downshift and a little throttle provided enough noise to get their attention, too). I can't wait to try it with the top dropped.

Associate Editor Reese Counts: Can a car be too capable and too buttoned down? It feels wrong to criticize the R8 for being too easy to drive fast. I like cars with a sense of drama. Cars that are a little hard-edged. Cars where you really have to work for speed. Everything comes so easy, so naturally to the R8 that it wasn't as satisfying as I wanted it to be. That said, this is still a very fast and capable machine.

This V10 is a wonder. Aside from the 10 trumpets singing away behind your head, the way this naturally aspirated engine builds revs makes you want to burn turbocharged engines as heretics. It pulls all the way to redline. A simple pull of the right paddle repeats the process. The seven-speed dual-clutch is great, too. Fast when you need it to be, smooth when you don't. Nail the go pedal and let quattro sort out the traction.

And the suspension. This might be the best-riding sports car I've driven all year, even with the optional 20-inch wheels. This really could be an everyday driver or a long-range GT car. It's super comfortable, though passenger space is a little limited. The limitless headroom was a nice bonus this time of year. I had the top down, even when the temps dropped to the 50s.

General Manager Adam Morath: Since its release, the Audi R8 has held the distinction of being one of the most drivable supercars on the market. I've found that to ring truer each time I get behind the wheel. This was my first opportunity to pilot an R8 with Audi's seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. The paddles were responsive and performed nearly instant, pavement-rattling downshifts with ease.

For the Spyder variant, a convertible top adds a whole new element to the R8 experience. For a peak at the roof in action, check out my Short Cut below. (And apologies for the sound — that V10 is loud!)

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2017 Audi R8 V10 Spyder Drivers' Notes | The everyday supercar originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 18 Oct 2017 12:40:00 EDT.