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  • I spy a Spyder

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    Audi's R8 Spyder is the soft-top supercar that's easy to live with, and there's a new one on the way.

     Heavily disguised prototypes have been spotted being tested, but there is no mistaking the distinctive R8 profile – if it ain't broke, and all that.

     The Spyder will stick with a folding soft-top, Audi having resisted the temptation to follow other Spiders – the McLaren 650S and the Ferrari 488 – which have metal tops.

     That big grille remains at the front, to alarm anyone who spots the R8 in their mirrors, with twin vertical air intakes on either side.

     For those lucky enough to get their hands on a Spyder, the biggest thrill will come from hearing that V10 screaming just behind their head, as the R8's awesome acceleration propels it towards the horizon with Teutonic efficiency.

     The same two V10 engine options are expected to be available as on the hard-top R8, Audi having dropped the old V8 option in preparation for the introduction of a smaller, turbo-assisted engine. And there's no manual gearbox option – the original gated box was a joy to use, but the demand just isn't there now.

     The top-of-the-range model, the R8 V10 Plus Spyder, will pump out 610hp, enough to propel it to 60mph in about three seconds, if some tests are to be believed.

     Like all other R8s, it will be as easy to drive around town as on the track, and it will be comfy too, especially if fitted with the optional Magnetic Ride variable suspension.

     It's all-wheel drive and that, coupled with the technological magic that we expect of our cars these days, means this will be a blast to drive on B-roads, even when the rain comes down and the roof goes back up.

     The only drawback with the new R8 Spyder? If you park it on your drive, your neighbours are going to really, really hate you.