If you’re after a rapid and fire-breathing mid-engined supercar that’s also usable, reliable and easy to drive, an Audi R8 would fit the bill nicely. Suppose, though, that you wanted all those qualities but you also desired a bit of wind-in-the-hair action – what do you look for then? The answer, of course, is the even-more-glamorous R8 Spyder.
Simply put, it’s the convertible version of the R8 coupé, and uses the same naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine as the closed-top car, a unit it also shares with the Lamborghini Huracan. Its folding fabric roof is electrically operated and can be dropped or raised in under 20 seconds. However, unlike some convertibles that can get a little wobbly when the fixed roof is removed, don’t worry about losing any of that supercar goodness here; the Spyder always feels as rigid as a rod of iron.
Like the coupé, the Spyder has gained power over the years, and, as of the subtly facelifted 2019 models, there are now two possible power outputs: the 562bhp standard car or (if you need more puff) the 612bhp Performance version. Even with the former, there's more than enough to let the Spyder keep pace with rivals such as the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, the McLaren 570S Spider and Mercedes-AMG GT Convertible. And, like the 911, it comes with the added security of four-wheel drive.
Read on over the next few pages to see how the R8 Spyder compares with those prestige rivals, and don't forget to head to our New Car Buying page to see what supercar deals we have that could save you thousands of pounds.