What You Learn is a recurring look at the cars passing through R&T’s test fleet. Sometimes you’ll learn a lot about the car, other times, not so much. But it’ll always be a succinct take on something we’ve driven recently. – Ed.
Drop top supercars are always seen as compromised compared to their hard top brothers. A folding top typically means there is more weight and less rigidity, a combination that makes the car less focused than the original design, just so you can drive around with the wind in your hair.
But, maybe we’ve been exaggerating all this time at how much worse a convertible is. Perhaps, in some cases, the convertible version is better.
Take the Audi R8, for instance. As a coupe, the R8–and particularly the R8 Plus–are fantastic. Both have V10 engines with either 540 or 610 horsepower, a telepathic seven speed dual clutch gearbox, and Audi’s brilliant Virtual Cockpit infotainment system. It also looks amazing. Though it’s not as revolutionary as its predecessor, this generation of R8 is chiseled and angular, an update to the classic that you either love or hate. Like it’s brother, the Lamborghini Huracan, it’s a brilliant car to drive on a track or a fast back road.
But what if you don’t go to the track? What if you’re driving a longer distance on a great road? What if you just like wind in your hair?
We place a lot of value on a car that’s brilliant on a track–it is 50 percent of our name–but it’s not 50 percent of the driving that we do. I’d wager that 98 to 99 percent of the time, we’re on the road. And for that time on the road, the R8 Spyder is more enjoyable nine times out of ten.
First, the Spyder looks brilliant. Unlike its predecessor, the Spyder keeps the R8’s signature carbon sideblade. It also has the chrome windshield surround, the rear deck appears lower, and there’s an additional bit of black mesh on the rear end which actually makes it look better. I’d say it’s the best looking…