Order books open for drop-top supercar in Europe now.

Europeans can put their name down on a 2017 Audi R8 V10 Spyder from tomorrow. The price (in Germany) is €179,000 is equivalent to approximately $260,000 CAD.

That buys one of the most exciting supercars there is right now. Power comes from a naturally-aspirated, 5.2-litre V10 engine that sings like Marvin Gaye, and serves up 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque.

Audi quotes a 0-100 kilometres per hour (62 miles per hour) time of 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 319 km/h (198 mph). That acceleration figure is half a second down on the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, but we won't hold that against the R8. Not when it sounds so good.

The mid-mounted engine sends power through a seven-speed, dual-clutch S tronic gearbox to Quattro four-wheel-drive. Up to 100 per cent of the power can be directed to the front or rear axle, producing what Audi describes as "particularly dynamic and precise handling." Select the mode and it will corner like it's on rails, or drift until the tires burst. Whether or not the handling is quite as good as the Coupe's remains to be seen, though Audi claims the Spyder is 50% stiffer than its predecessor.

Inevitably, the Spyder carries a weight penalty over the Coupe, but Audi has kept the gain down to a modest 17 kilograms (37 pounds). When dry, it tips the scales at 1,612 kg (3,554 lb) - 158 kg (348 lb) less than the aforementioned Porsche, incidentally.

The new R8 Spyder will go on sale in the U.S. and Canada later this year.





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