Driving Audi’s magical open-top R8 can seriously damage your health, says Road Test Editor HOWARD WALKER
The resulting instant catapulting towards the horizon – in cold numbers we’re talking standstill to 60 mph in a pulmonary-punishing four seconds – is enough to warrant a jump-start from the ER’s high-voltage defibrillators!
And don’t forget hearing loss. I’d say the R8 is up there with the yard-guy’s chainsaw as a potential source of aural nuisance. Only with the Audi, the soundtrack from its screaming Lamborghini-based V10 is a heady mix of Kiss and Guns ’n Roses. Played really loud.
Of course, the hardtop coupe version or Audi’s magical V10-powered R8 is an equally breathtaking device. It’s just that being able to lower the roof at the touch of a button – 20 seconds start to finish – simply heightens the whole driving experience. But Baryshnikov at the Bolshoi couldn’t better the mechanical ballet of the Audi dropping its top. Motors whirr, panels lift, and the whole structure sweeps elegantly and effortlessly into a well behind the seats.
And the Audi has a cool party piece in that its teeny glass rear window can be raised and lowered to act as an effective, and discreet wind blocker. Much better than those weird mesh screen-like affairs that look for the entire world like they’ve been constructed from stretched pantyhose!
I could tell you how I went in search of the Spyder’s handling limits on every on-ramp between Bradenton and Bonita. But I’d be kidding you. The fact is, I’d need a week at the Nürburgring to discover the exact moment when the Audi’s massive rubber ware gave up its vice-like grip.
With a combination of Quattro all-wheel drive, a locking rear differential, a mid-engine configuration and low, low center of gravity, the Audi essentially goes where you point it.
And when you need to stop in a hurry, this thing has the kind of brakes that will loosen retinas and transform your belly button from an inny to outty!
You’ll pay $166,950 for the hedonistic pleasure of R8 5.2 Spyder ownership – which is around $14-grand more than the V10 Coupe version.
But remember that a convertible can be good for your health. Recent studies show how 15 minutes of unprotected sun helps your body produce vital vitamin D. My new motto? Stay healthy, buy an R8!
For more information about 2011 Audi vehicles, please visit, http://models.audiusa.com/r8