Order books open for drop-top supercar in Europe now.

Europeans can put their name down on a 2017 Audi R8 V10 Spyder from tomorrow. The price (in Germany)? €179,000, equivalent to $199,000.

That buys one of the most exciting supercars there is right now. Power comes from a naturally-aspirated, 5.2-litre V10 engine that sings like Marvin Gaye, and serves up 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque.

Audi quotes a 0 to 62 miles-per-hour time of 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 198 mph. That acceleration figure is half-a-second down on the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, but we won't that against the R8. Not when it sounds so good.

The mid-mounted engine sends drives through a seven-speed, dual-clutch S tronic gearbox to Quattro four-wheel-drive. Up to 100 per cent of the power can be directed to the front or rear axle, producing what Audi describes as "particularly dynamic and precise handling." Select the mode and it will corner like it's on rails, or drift until the tires burst. Whether or not the handling is quite as good as the Coupe's remains to be seen, though Audi claims the Spyder is 50% stiffer than its predecessor.

Inevitably, the Spyder carries a weight penalty over the Coupe, but Audi has kept the gain down to a modest 37 pounds. Dry, it tips the scales at 3,554 lbs - 348 lbs less than the aforementioned Porsche, incidentally.

The new R8 Spyder will go on sale in the USA later this year.





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