Not very often do I get to test a car with 600 plus PS; however this time round, I did! The car in question- the Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus.
Despite the wintry conditions with a warm coat and scarf in place I braved the elements open top style and if I were honest I did this not so much for the fresh air but to tune in to the wonderful sound of the engine.
I have driven R8s on a number of occasions including around the Paul Ricard circuit; however before I got behind the wheel a certain French F3 driver gave me a few tips.
On this occasion I was in command of a right hand drive version on roads very akin to our roads here in Ireland; so not within the confines of a race circuit need less to say speeds were a lot lower, but the staggering acceleration was almost mind blowing, rest to 62mph (100kph) in a whisker proud of three seconds.
In many ways this Audi is very like the McLaren 570S which I drove a few months ago and if I were in the market for such a car it might just be a very difficult decision to make.
The one aspect of the Audi that may surprise many, despite all its power you can use it every day. Mind you when you go to the local Dunnes expect to be surrounded it is very much that kind of car.
You may very well be wondering why Plus in the title, well if I dare to call it normal there is a 540PS R8 RWS. The Plus pushes out 610PS. I can recall cars in the European Rallycross Championship when it visited Mondello Park with that level of power and more.
Again and again I had to remind myself that this 204mph (328kph) Audi is a road car and had to be treated in a manner to suit the conditions.
No surprise to confirm that road holding is at another level, the 5.2 litre FSI engine is mid mounted and quattro drive plays a major part in keeping the R8 Spyder firmly planted.
Allied to the screaming power unit, a seven speed S tronic transmission which is a sheer joy to use as it slides up and down the ratios like a hot knife through butter.
The Spyder rides normally on nineteen inch alloys and there is a Performance mode for the Audi drive select on this particular version. Despite it nature, many would expect a rather naked set of wheels in terms of
equipment, not so there are a number of creature comforts, MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch, Parking System Plus, cruise control, all LED headlights, hip hugging bucket seats and in the case of the V10 Plus ceramic brakes.
When the desire to get some wind in the hair arises the fabric hood can be lowered in twenty seconds, but be warned only under 31mph (50kph).
Like other models in the extensive Audi range there is a comprehensive options list and my test car had a number.
Rear-view camera, LED headlights with Audi Laser Light and High-beam assist, Audi Smartphone Interface, Audi exclusive seat backrest covers in Ara blue, matt effect, Sport exhaust system, twenty inch 10-spoke Y design’ forged alloy wheels, diamond cut finish, Cruise control and Audi Phone Box with wireless charging.
If I had to select one, then my money would go with the Sport exhaust system, little wonder I kept the hood firmly down.
What price this sheer helping of motoring joy – £156,595 (€177.000). Prices in the R.O.I. start from €221,930