The Audi R8 V10 Spyder is back on our front page after our first experience with the German sports car in the summer of 2010. At that time we described the roofless supercar from Ingolstadt as fast, easy to drive, full of fun and prowess, but never a true racer capable of giving you the ultimate thrill like its family member from Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy. Still, the R8 V10 Spyder is one of the finest sports cars Audi has ever produced closely trailing its brother, the R8 GT Spyder.
Now let’s ask ourselves the question is there an option to include that ultimate Italian experience into the R8 and close the gap between the sophisticated R8 and the mind-blowing Gallardo-series, one of the finest four-wheel-drive supercars in its class. If you ask the GTspirit team and fans, they will tell you there’s only one company who can fulfill such a request. Exactly, it is MTM, the German tuner from Wettstetten.
CEO and owner Ronald Mayer gave us the keys to their latest creation based on the Audi R8 V10 Spyder, the MTM R8 Spyder. Dressed in dark grey and wrapped in a racy livery, we left the MTM headquarters with the top down, 35 degrees, blue skies, sunny weather and a day behind the wheel of a V10-powered 588hp-strong roadster controlled by the controversial six-speed R tronic automated manual transmission.
Let’s start with the technical upgrades. The Germans offer a modified MTM-motronic computer with an improved maximum torque of up to 555Nm at 6,500rpm and 588hp at 8,000rpm. An increase of 53hp and 25Nm providing a top speed of 322km/h (+9km/h) and a zero to 100km/h sprint of 3.9 seconds (+0.2 seconds). The increase in power is achieved in conjunction with an MTM titanium exhaust system with throttle vales. The system offers a weight saving of up to 18kg or 58% with respect to the total stock exhaust weight.
The sound track of the exhaust is thrilling, and one of the best we ever heard from an Audi R8. The constant backfire on throttle release and downshifts is a feast for any ears. The screaming of the ten cylinders is addictive, so much so that you will always want to drive open-top, shift back and let it howl all the way to its 8,700 maximum rpm. The new lightweight exhaust just adds that type of additional flavor you normally only experience in its Italian counterpart.
The R tronic gearbox is similar to our previous test car. It offers the same smooth ride while cruising and is rather bulky at full throttle. Engaging the Sport mode solves this irritating and slow behavior of the R tronic automated manual transmission, improving the response during up- and downshifts. The setup is still not as smooth as a Ferrari gearbox, nor as ferocious as a Lamborghini, but surprisingly it feels a lot more subtle and refined than we experienced before. Any Audi R8 owner will clearly experience that MTM updated the shift characteristics of the engine in a highly favorable way. The gearbox now shifts as you would expect from an Audi R8, a major improvement and a definite must-have for any automatic Audi R8. Points scored by MTM!
MTM fitted 20 inch bimoto rims with their nine-spoke race diamond cut design. Highlighted with a glossy finish, these lightweight forged rims are produced to the highest OEM manufacturing standards. They improve the optical image of the Audi R8 Spyder and do not influence the ride quality drastically. The ride is slightly more bumpy, but body roll is absent and the steering feel is much more precise due to the installation of a new KW suspension system version 3. Overall, the ride gained positively.
Improved stopping power has been achieved by installing a Brembo brake kit with eight-piston calipers and granulated brake discs sizing 380x34mm at the front. To finish off the complete exterior package, the Germans fitted a new front spoiler, side skirts with MTM logo and a carbon fiber rear wing.
The interior is still wonderfully made, in true Audi style. It included a build-in Bluetooth car kit with seatbelt-mounted microphones, LED headlamps all around and in-car entertainment consisting of a personal navigation system and a crystal-clear, 19-speaker, 465-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo system. MTM only swapped the floors mats and the standard leather seats for carbon fiber bucket seats with contrasting leather trim and MTM logos.
The Audi R8 V10 Spyder conveys sophisticated driving passion, however this is sometimes just not enough and a little more exhilaration is needed bringing it closer to its competitors in the market. German tuner MTM offers a package with engine enhancements, upgrades and refinements that adds an exhilarating, powerful sound, better gear changes, improved handling and more prominent looks to the classy R8. The parts prove to be excellent enhancements to the stock package and feed a more definitive experience. A thrill highly requested in the stock package and MTM is capable of providing it completely.