Track Tested: 2011 Audi R8 Spyder V10


2011 Audi R8 Spyder V10

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test-drivers. Enjoy.

After driving an Audi R8 for a year, the thought of improving it wasn't exactly at the top of our minds. Other than the clunky automatic gearbox, it was nearly flawless. It was well built, easy to drive every day and yet still a thing to behold on a lonely back road. As exotics go, it was one of the best ever.

Like any good company looking to make more money, Audi was already looking for ways to improve the R8 and sell more of them at a higher price. The most obvious course of action? Chop the roof off. No small task given its aluminum spaceframe chassis, but the engineers took their time and came up with a soft-top mechanism that actually looks surprisingly good. 

Then again, chopping the roof off is the easy part. Maintaining the car's driving dynamics is quite another. To see how successful Audi's engineers were, we put it through our usual battery of tests to see how the new R8 V10 Spyder handles itself. The results after the jump.

Vehicle:  2011 Audi R8 Spyder
Odometer: 1,676
Date: 8/31/10
Driver: Josh Jacquot
Base Price (with destination and tax): $165,250
Options: Carbon-Fiber Sigma Exterior Package ($8,000); Enhanced Leather Package ($3,500); Carbon-Fiber Sigma Interior Inlays ($2,500); Carbon-Fiber Exterior Mirrors ($1,400); Carbon-Fiber Sigma Door Inserts ($1,050); Daytona Gray Pearl Effect Paint/Black Roof ($650).

Price as tested: $182,450

Specifications:
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: Direct-injection V10
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 5,204/317.6
Redline (rpm): 8,700
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 525 @ 8,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 391 @ 6,500
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc with eight-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated disc with four-piston fixed calipers
Steering System: Hydraulic rack and pinion
Suspension Type (front): Double wishbone
Suspension Type (rear): Double wishbone

Tire Size (front): 235/35ZR19 91Y
Tire Size (rear): 295/30ZR19 100Y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P Zero
Tire Type: Asymmetrical Summer Performance
Wheel Size: 19-by-8.5 inches front, 19-by-11 inches rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,926

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 1.7
0 - 45 (sec): 2.5
0 - 60 (sec): 3.9
0 - 75 (sec): 5.7
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 12.0 @ 118
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 3.7
30 - 0 (ft): 27
60 - 0 (ft): 108
Slalom (mph): 72.7 stability off, 71.5 on
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.97 stability off, 0.96 trac on
Db @ Idle: 51.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 89.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 70.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise top open: 78.6

Acceleration Comments: Best launch by pinning rev limiter at 7K and dropping the clutch. Initial torque hit is modulated electronically and then fed back in to near-perfect wheelspin. Third gear can't be rushed too much because metal gate doesn't allow any shortcutting. It's still worth having, however. Most satisfying engine sound in recent months.

Braking Comments: Brakes clearly need some heat before distances are optimized. Then they stabilize at 106/107. Pedal feel is solid and dead consistent.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: Stability on produces wildly erratic results here. Turn it off, however, and the R8 snaps right back to the driver's car that it truly is. Can be easily coaxed into tail-out slides which are very easy to control for an AWD car. Awesome.

Slalom: Stability on is, surprisingly, quite good here relative to the skid pad. Not too intrusive. Trims just the right amount of throttle without punishing results. Beating ESC isn't easy but can be done with focus. Very, very easy to be consistent.

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