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Flying Spyder; The 2012 Audi R8 GT

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On: Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 4:48PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Flying Spyder; The 2012 Audi R8 GT

If you missed out on the first 333 copies of the very impressive, very powerful, very fast Audi R8 GT a couple months ago, don't feel bad because we did too. But all might not be lost. Audi is going to give us all another 333 chances to own the baddest car in their lineup, except this one comes without a roof. The 2012 Audi R8 GT Spyder promises to be one of the most exciting open air cars we've laid eyes on in a long time.  

Much like its fixed-roof sibling, the GT Spyder takes what an "ordinary" R8 offers and ratchets it up a few notches towards 'race'. The GT Spyder uses the same 5.2-liter V10, but thanks to a few tweaks here and there, it produces a healthier 552 horsepower (up 27 ponies) and 398 pound-feet of torque (versus seven pound-feet). Now, obviously that little power increase alone is not enough to warrant a new model designation, but it is nice to know that Audi upped the output just enough to brag about.

The GT is a better car not because of one big change, but the sum of several little ones. Instead of the standard megnetorheological shocks on the standard car, the GT gets real-deal coil-overs that can be manually lowered up to 0.4 inches for those special race events. Thanks to little things like thinner windshield, a polycarbonate engine compartment bulkhead, and a bit of carbon fiber sprinkled throughout, the GT Spyder is set to drop about two hundred pounds off of the standard R8's 3715 pound mass.

The sum of all these upgrades and Audi's ever-present Quattro all-wheel drive, the GT's ability to click off a 0-60 mph time improves about 0.3 seconds faster than its heavier predecessor's already impressive 3.7 second time. Top end speed is also upped just a pinch to a lofty 197 mph, although we cannot imagine testing that claim with the top down (or up, for that matter).

Just in case you happen to see an R8 Spyder flying down the highway and want to know if it was a GT or not, look for a double-lipped front air dam, a rear diffuser under the bumper, and the all-important carbon-fiber rear wing that somehow makes the R8 Spyder bear a striking profile resemblance to another German open-air Gran Turismo, the out-of-print Porsche Carrera GT.

Pricing for the GT Spyder has not been disclosed, but expect about a 50 grand premium over the standard R8's $162,700. Also undisclosed as of this writing is the number of R8 GT Spyders to be sent to our shores (90 is the rumored number). But, with only 333 of these unbelievable machines set for production, the only thing faster than one of flying Spyders on the highway might be the rush to sign on the dotted line to own one.

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