2021 Audi R8 Spyder RWD Review: Old Time Rock N Roll

Derryn Wong

Go back to Page 1: Introduction, design, interior

Driving experience, competitors and more

2021 Audi R8 Spyder RWD Review Singapore

You’ll rarely see power and torque figures at the same level, but the Spider does (540 horses and Nm), and that’s a clue to the sweeter drive-ability of a non-turbo engine. What your right foot asks is much what you get, at least compared to a turbo, and that allows you to meter out the revs with precision, even in tighter corners. 

On the road we left all the electronic nannies on, but the RWD character shines through nonetheless.

Wring the V10 out past 4,000rpm and the cams wake up to give more growl, as the rear wheels wiggle a little under the 540hp, then it screams louder and louder out until the rev limiter at 8,500rpm reminds you to tug the upshift paddle. 

2021 Audi R8 Spyder RWD Review Singapore

Compared to the quattro R8, the RWD is less brutally efficient at gaining forward motion, but on the flipside it’s also more lively, which goes well with the car’s analogue vibe, and it would be even more fun on track with some of the nannies left in the nursery.

2021 Audi R8 Spyder RWD Review Singapore

That it can go al fresco (20 seconds, speeds of up to 50km/h) is the cherry on top as like a good Spyder it doesn’t detract from the performance, only adding minor road noise and scuttle shake.

Ferrari’s 720hp F8 Tributo is a full-on supercar – and quite a handful as we found out in Maranello

It’s just dramatic enough, we feel. There’s with as much power as a normal, skilled driver could need. 540hp and 540Nm means it’s still relatively easy to handle – it’s not as intimidating to drive as a mid-engined supercar such as the Ferrari F8, for example. 

2021 Audi R8 Spyder RWD Review Singapore - interior

Our complaints come with the territory: Perhaps more drama inside with nicer shift paddles and a on-wheel mode selector switch. Also the fuel consumption could keep your local Shell going for a while yet – we never saw anything better than 20L/100km. Better find some green credits somewhere, then. 

In this form, the R8 isn’t quite a supercar – the R8 quattro probably is, the not-sold-here 612hp R8 quattro Performance certainly is – but it’s also not asking for super-money either.

2021 Audi R8 Spyder RWD Review Singapore

In Singapore, Audi is offering the RWD R8 coupe and Spyder for S$652,900 and S$715,800, with the even faster quattro Performance models (570hp and a little faster) available on indent. Those cars will likely be close to a million bucks, though.

2021 Audi R8 Spyder RWD Review Singapore

There aren’t many alternatives out there too. Lamborghini’s 610 Huracan EVO has a similar Spyder model, albeit much costlier, while for non-turbo thrills you can’t beat Porsche’s 911 GT3, though that only comes as a coupe. A less costly, less sporty but only slightly less dramatic alternative that’s just as unique comes from the left-field in the form of the Lexus LC Convertible, with a howling 5.0-litre V8.

But back to the R8. If you buy one now, it’s probably because you will never get the chance to do it in future – brand new at least. Screamers like this might be going over the hill but electric cars, for all their promise, will never sound as good as this. 

Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 RWD 

Engine5,204cc, V10
Power540hp at 6300rpm
Torque540hp at 6300rpm
Gearbox7-speed dual-clutch 
0-100km/h3.8 seconds 
Top Speed322km/h
Fuel Efficiency13.1L/100km
VES Band C2 / +S$20,000*
AgentPremium Automobiles
PriceS$715,800 with COE and VES
Verdict Rear wheel drive, just enough power, and proper top-down driving thrills make Audi’s R8 Spyder RWD a thrilling throwback worth owning

*$S25,000 from July 2021

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2 seat 2-door 5.2 RWD Audi Convertible petrol R8 Spyder

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment.

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