The production R8 Spyder is already a shining example of Audi ultra: featuring an Audi Space Frame (ASF) design, its aluminum body tips the scales at just 216 kilograms (476.20 lb). The strength of the body provides the basis for the car’s precise handling, while also delivering high vibrational comfort and superior crash safety. The open body is tops in its segment in terms of lightweight quality – the relationship between weight, size and torsional stiffness.
The body-in-white consists of three semi-finished components: aluminum extruded sections comprise 75 percent; vacuum-cast nodes 8 percent. The aluminum panels that close and brace the skeleton make up the remaining 17 percent.
The body is assembled largely by hand, with the utmost precision, in the workshop at the Audi Neckarsulm plant. The open structure features special reinforcements in the area of the sills, the center tunnel, the rear bulkhead, the floor and both the A and B pillars. Ultra-light magnesium is used for the engine frame. The components are joined by 107 meters (351.05 ft) of weld seams, 814 punch rivets and 188 self-tapping screws.
The cover over the soft-top compartment and the side panels on the R8 Spyder are made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP), an excellent lightweight material for low-volume use. These components are made using resin transfer molding (RTM), a method that is faster and more energy-efficient than conventional production in an autoclave. The ultra-lightweight ASF body is a key reason the R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI production car weighs only 1,725 kilograms (3802.97 lb) (in the R tronic version).
The R8 GT Spyder weighs in at just 1,640 kilograms (3,615.58 lb), a full 85 kilograms (187.39 lb) less than the R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro. The engineers at quattro GmbH accomplished this feat with an approach that targeted all areas of the vehicle. They even found a way to lighten the ASF body: by using thinner sheet metal and additional cutouts, they were able to trim 2.4 kilograms (5.29 lb) from the aluminum hatch over the 100 liter (3.53 cu. ft) luggage compartment at the front of the car.
The new front spoiler, the special fixed rear spoiler and the modified rear bumper combined bring the weight down by another 5.5 kilograms (12.13 lb). The aerodynamic paneling on the underbody is made of thinner sheet metal, for a saving of 1 kilogram (2.20 lb). The heat shields at the rear of the car are also lighter – by 1.1 kilogram (2.43 lb).
The engineers also shaved off every expendable gram from the technical components. In the area surrounding the transmission, they reduced the weight by 3.5 kilograms (7.72 lb), and by dispensing with absorber masses on the brakes and propshaft, they were able to do away with another 3.6 kilograms (7.94 lb). The exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels accounted for another 4.3 kilograms (9.48 lb) of weight loss. Reduced features in the luggage compartment provided a saving of 5.5 kilograms (12.13 lb). The damping materials in the engine compartment and other areas of the body removed another 11.2 kilograms (24.69 lb).
The development engineers also achieved considerable weight savings in the interior. The new, lightweight carpet lightens the car by 7.9 kilograms (17.42 lb). The bucket seats, which can be adjusted longitudinally, feature a chassis made of glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) for a saving of 31.5 kilograms (69.45 lb). A wealth of additional specific measures round out the Audi ultra lightweight design package.
The Audi R8 GT Spyder has a convertible top made of fabric. Weighing only about 42 kilograms (92.59 lb), it keeps the vehicle’s weight and center of gravity low. The soft top fits harmoniously into the design line when up. It tapers off to two long, slim fins and can be brought up or down within 19 seconds, even at speeds up to 50 km/h (31.07 mph). The soft top has an electrohydraulic drive. When returning to the stowed position, the 1.7 square meters (18.30 sq. ft) of fabric folds in a Z-shape into its storage compartment over the engine; as it does so, the CFRP compartment lid moves on two seven-joint hinges.
The outer skin of the top is a textile fabric. A headliner covers the frame, which is made primarily of die-cast magnesium and aluminum. The soft top is quiet and fully suitable for high-speed cruising. The heated glass window, which is separate from the top, is nestled in the bulkhead between the passenger compartment and the engine compartment. It can be raised and lowered at the press of a switch, with the soft top up or down. An additional wind deflector comes standard. It keeps the interior nearly free of drafts at speeds of up to around 200 km/h (124.27 mph).
The top forms a single unit with its rear-window module, the storage compartment, the cover and the rollover protection system – two strong, spring-loaded sections. This lends additional stiffness to the ASF body. Full-size airbags stand at the ready in the event of a head-on collision. In a rear-end collision, the integral head restraint system reduces the risk of whiplash injuries. Integrated in the bulkhead is a rollover protection system comprising two pretensioned plates.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.