Bloomberg -- Audi's new R8 Spyder will have more power, new drive modes, a tighter chassis, and a faster sprint time than ever before, the company said in a statement.
The brand's last update to the Spyder came with the 2015 model year, and this time around Audi has added 15 horsepower, new driving dynamic systems and performance modes, updated components, and increased rigidity to the Sport line, which started with the first-generation coupe in 2007 and continued through a 2010 introduction of the Spyder version.
"For us in America, the R8 put Audi on the map—it declared our intent, and it accelerated everything," said Audi of America President Scott Keogh. In 2007, when Audi was the first luxury car brand to air a television ad during the Super Bowl, it was for the original R8. "This is the car that will lead Audi into the next phase of our ascent."
Since then total sales for the R8 family have reached nearly 30,000 units, according to Audi reports. Audi R and RS models combined sold more than 17,000 units globally, up 13 percent over last year and more than double the number in 2011.
"The U.S. market has the potential really to be the biggest market for the Audi sport brand," said Stephan Winkelmann, who recently switched to Audi to lead its sport performance division. He called it a "good omen" to be able to stand next to the car at the New York auto show at the start of his new role.
The Spyder has a V-10 540-hp engine that will hit 100kph (62mph) in 3.6 seconds, well under the 2015 model’s 4-second sprint time. Top speed is just over 318kph (197 mph).
"It's the mighty mid-engine which makes this car really wonderful,” said Dietmar Voggenreiter, a member of the board of management for Audi. "It can go nearly 200 mph for an open top car—I think this is quite cool."
With its new design, the R8 Spyder retains the forward position of the passenger compartment, the highly accentuated wheel arches, and the long back of its predecessor. But at 4420mm (174 inches) long it is 152mm (0.6 inches) shorter and 355mm (1.4 inches) wider than previous years. It contains nearly 50 percent of the same parts used on the LMS racing version of the R8 that won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race last month.
The car displays Audi's famous front nose with a honeycomb grill, wedge-shaped headlights, and LED-diode lights inside them.
The Spyder's soft top deploys in 20 seconds at speeds up to 50kph (31 mph). Optional add-ons for the new model include a front spoiler, carbon-fiber "sideblades" along the side of the car, and a novel paint color for the car called Argus Brown.
Audi says the Spyder will go on sale later this year. Pricing has not been announced.