The 2017 Audi R8 V10 Spyder made its global debut in New York today with sharper styling and performance to match. This open version of the second-generation Audi R8 V10 Coupe that bowed in at last year’s Geneva Auto Show shares much stylistically and mechanically with its hard-shell sibling. However, the new Spyder also boasts a number of unique touches that go beyond its enhanced sun-chasing abilities.

Light made right

Like the V10 Coupe, the new Spyder is an aluminum-intensive exercise using the latest Audi Space Frame, which also incorporates a healthy dose of carbon fiber. Here, that strong, light core is reinforced in the A-pillars, windshield header and side sills. Those strategic modifications increase torsional rigidity by 50 percent over the vehicle it replaces to enhance handling and responsiveness.

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The new Spyder shares a 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 engine with the Coupe that makes 540 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque. It’s backed by a paddle-shift 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission and a performance version of the automaker’s Quattro all-wheel drive system that can transfer up to 100 percent of the driving force to either axle. Audi says the Spyder will streak from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, the same as the R8 V10 Coupe, and reach a top speed of 198 mph. 

Quick-cycling power soft top

Crowning the new R8 V10 Spyder is a powered, multi-layer cloth soft top that can be cycled in less than 20 seconds when the car is travelling at speeds up to 31 mph. It tucks away neatly under the hard tonneau. The glass rear window is an independent element that can be retracted at any time regardless of the top’s status.

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The 2017 Audi R8 V10 Spyder goes into production later this year at a facility outside of Neckarsulm, Germany. Pricing for the new Audi R8 V10 Spyder will open at $176,350, which is roughly $10,000 more than the R8 V10 Coupe. First deliveries are set to begin in late March or early April. Audi made no mention of an even more potent Spyder variant, but an R8 V10 Plus model with 601-horse version of the 5.2-liter engine is rumored to be in the works and could turn up this fall at the Paris Auto Show.

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