CARS.COM — Q: When should you pay more to get less? A: When you're buying an Audi R8 minus the roof. The luxury brand today announced pricing for the 2017 R8 supercar sans top — the V-10 Spyder. The Spyder, which bowed at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, will start at $176,350, including a $1,250 destination charge.
For comparison, that starting price is just shy of $11,000 more than that of the 2017 coupe version, nearly $43,000 more than the model-year 2015 droptop model (the R8 is so fast, it blew right past the 2016 model year), and $6,000 more than the 2015 Spyder with the then-optional 5.2-liter V-10. It's also more than two and a half times more than the 2017 Jaguar F-Type convertible and nearly $74,000 more than the 2017 Porsche 911 Cabriolet.
For your cash, however, you'll also get the open-air thrill of the 5.2-liter V-10 engine — the same power plant as the 2017 coupe — that puts out 540 horsepower and 398 pounds-feet of torque. That's a 110-hp boost and 81 more pounds-feet of torque than the standard V-8 of its predecessor. The 2017 Spyder also comes with a seven-speed automatic transmission compared with the 2015's standard six-speed manual. Its zero-to-60-mph sprint has improved by a tenth of a second to 3.5 seconds.
There have also been structural improvements, Audi said in a statement.
"The lightweight cloth roof, which is complemented by the added lower sideblade, combine perfectly with the Spyder's strikingly athletic design," Audi said in a statement, also noting 50 percent increased stiffness.
The Spyder's soft-top raises and lowers at the push of a button in 20 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph, Audi noted. Dimensions have also changed for 2017, with width growing by more than an inch and length decreasing to accentuate the Spyder's muscularity. Audi says the forward-favoring cockpit and prominent wheel arches are a tip of the hand to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which defaults power to the rear wheels but can transfer all force to the front under certain driving conditions.
Trapezoidal exhaust outlets and added ventilation across the deck lid, replacing an adaptive rear spoiler, further accentuate performance chops. Other exterior features include a single-frame grille with honeycomb design and Anthracite Gray finish, full LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, and 19-inch five-spoke cast aluminum wheels in a silver finish.
Inside the racecar-modeled cockpit, drivers will find the Audi Virtual Cockpit's 12.3-inch display in place of conventional instrumentation. Additional interior appointments include heated 18-way power sport seats; a three-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel; a premium 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo; and 4G LTE connectivity, navigation, travel info, internet radio and a Wi-Fi hotspot, all through the Audi Connect multimedia system.
The automaker did not immediately announce an on-sale date for the 2017 Spyder.