The Spyder’s colossal V10 petrol engine, in either power output, is responsive from the minute you press the accelerator. Its performance builds progressively, delivering a truly scintillating noise all the way up to the engine’s 8500rpm limiter.
All R8 Spyders are equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which you can operate manually using paddles behind the steering wheel. It can be a tad jerky in stop-start traffic but, once on the move, changes are smooth.
The R8 Spyder launches off the line with little wheel spin and feels planted and secure through corners. Turn in to a bend and the quick steering makes it feel nimble. There is an option for adaptive steering, but this is less consistent, so we’d stick to the standard set-up.
You can also order adaptive suspension to soften or firm the ride on demand. Again, the standard mechanical springs and dampers give such a good ride and handling balance that it’s also an unnecessary expense. The body feels nearly as stiff as the coupé, which helps comfort, too. The standard steel brakes offer excellent stopping ability, as do the optional carbon-ceramic ones (standard on Plus models), which also resist fade for longer.
With the roof up, it’s well insulated from wind noise, although there’s some road noise at speed. Drop the roof and install the wind deflector and the buffeting is acceptable, even at 70mph.