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Friday, October 3, 2008

2009 Audi R8 Spyder Shows off New Look

By Ed Hellwig,
Article file under

The appearance of the 2009 Audi R8 Spyder has been inevitable. You don't build one of the hottest sports cars in the world without contemplating an open-top version. So when our spies spotted a few peculiar-looking Audi R8 prototypes running through Death Valley and outside the Nürburgring, they followed them to get a closer look.

Instead of just a chop-top treatment with a targa bar, this R8 gets fully reworked sheet metal from the A-pillars rearward. The signature side blades have been removed completely, as well as the pillar-mounted fuel-filler door. The engineers also have used a clever soft cover to give the appearance of a simpler setup at first glance.

Upon closer examination of the spy photos, it appears as though this R8 has a full convertible conversion similar to that of the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. The rear sail panels most likely lift and fold out of the way, while the engine cover flips rearward to make way for the folding roof. Once everything is stored, the engine cover flips back down over the folded top to give the R8 a clean, uncluttered appearance with the top down.

Making such radical changes is a surprise given the relatively low worldwide volumes of the R8. But when combined with the expected debut of the V10-powered R8 coupe, it looks as though Audi is simply making the best of its hot-selling halo car.

Expect to see the V10-powered coupe by the end of this year, while the 2009 Audi R8 Spyder will probably make a Geneva auto show debut in the spring and go on sale by next summer.