The electric Audi R8, aka the e-tron, took our breath away earlier this week, but Audi hasn't forgotten about its petrol-powered brethren. It's been busy with the hacksaw, creating a convertible Spyder version of the R8, along with a chrome-finished version of its 5.2-litre V10-sporting R8 quattro coupe we spotted at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
There's not a lot that can be said about the chrome coupe -- aside from the fact it's awesome and we've got photos of it. You can check it out in our gallery. The Spyder, however -- despite being more sensibly hued -- is just as eye-catching.
We love the fact Audi has dropped the distinctive side blades of the coupe car and replaced them with a lightweight carbon-fibre composite that matches the car's paintwork. In fact, if you squint you might even be able to persuade yourself you're looking at a slightly squished Bugatti Veyron.
Tech-wise, the R8 Spyder has options for the Audi Music Interface iPod-connection system or a CD changer, and rocks a version of the Bang & Olufsen speaker system that blew our minds in the Aston Martin DBS. It also has heated seats (yay!), DVD-based satellite navigation (meh) and -- in a world first for Audi -- seatbelt-mounted microphones that make it possible to talk on the phone even with the roof down on the motorway. We have to give Audi props for this one -- it's a fabulous idea, if it works.
Droptops tend not to be as fast or dynamic as their coupe counterparts, either, but the difference between the R8 coupe and Spyder should be minimal in the hands of most drivers. The Spyder takes just 4.1 seconds to complete the 0-60mph sprint and will gallop all the way to 194mph, which isn't far off the coupe's 3.9s 0-60mph time and 197mph top speed.
Handling shouldn't be bad either, despite the lack of a roof. The R8 Spyder has a relatively even 43:57 axle load distribution and inherits the coupe's Quattro four-wheel-drive system. It also gets Audi's magnetic ride system, which uses magnetic fields in the shock absorbers to adjust their response to road conditions within milliseconds.
The R8 Spyder goes on sale in November 2009 for a starting price of £111,955. Rich folk who want one can get a closer look by visiting our photo gallery.