ROAD TEST

CLAN GATHERING

We take the all-new Audi R8 Spyder V10 to meet its illustrious ancestors on a driving tour through some of Scotlands most breathtaking scenery

WRITER Angus Frazer

PHOTOGRAPHER Juan Trujillo Andrades

LIFE DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN DRIVING AN AUDI R8 SPYDER IN THE HIGHLANDS

This should be easy. Joining the quattro Owners' Club for a tour of the Scottish Highlands will be a doddle. After all, once I press the red starter button of the all-new Audi R8 Spyder and fire the naturally aspirated V10 engine behind my shoulders into life, I will have 540PS at my disposal.

Factor in the latest intelligent quattro technology, which reacts to changes in road surface in the blink of an eye, plus a seven-speed S tronic transmission that delivers super-fast gear changes, and the result is a car that can sprint to 62mph in 3.6 seconds. I suspect I won't even need to use the steering wheel's race car-style gearshift paddles to change up out of second gear. I'll just listen to a nice relaxing play via the Audi Smartphone interface, take it easy and cruise around.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! Some of the cars here may have been built well over a quarter of a century ago, but believe me, an Audi quattro still has plenty to offer.

Not that it is exactly a hardship to access the all-new R8 Spyder's epic performance. The merest flex of my right foot brings a hair-trigger response from the lighter, even- faster-revving hand-built 5.2-litre V10 engine. Driving the car with the hood down in the stunning Highland scenery is a deeply visceral experience. And as for the sound of that engine – the angry, full-throttle howl of the V10 sets your spine tingling every time.

Ah but the wild, haunting call of a five-cylinder turbocharged quattro engine reverberating around the deserted mountain passes sounds so sweet too. And let's face it, if there had been no quattro there would have been no R8 Spyder. Of course you can trace the history of the four rings back to the 1930s Auto Union Grand Prix cars, but the event that set Audi on course for stellar success in the modern era was the launch of the quattro in 1980. And while the R8 Spyder's rocket ship looks turn heads everywhere we go, a multitude of quattros arriving has exactly the same effect.

THE SPIRIT OF VORSPRUNG DURCH TECHNIK LINKS THE R8 SPYDER AND THE QUATTRO

AUDI R8 SPYDER V10

Price £129,990 OTR
Engine 5.2 V10 FSI 540PS
Transmission seven-speed S tronic
0-62mph 3.6 seconds
Top speed 197mph
Efficiency 

24.1mpg combined*,

277g/km C02*

*Standard EU test figure for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results. With 19-inch wheels

'The car involves you in every aspect of the road. The traction allows you to put the power down early, and once you get used to the lag or delay from the turbocharged engine, it is a truly wonderful driving experience,' is how club member Stephen McPherson sums up what it is like to pilot the iconic Audi quattro.

The notion of having to wait until the engine's power is delivered will be utterly alien to Audi R8 Spyder drivers. Such phenomenal performance could not have been dreamt of when the quattro was developed four decades ago. Back then, anything remotely resembling the R8's Audi Virtual Cockpit could only have been glimpsed in Star Wars. And who could have imagined a car capable of connecting to the internet when the internet hadn't even been invented?

But while the R8 Spyder's technology may be light years ahead of the quattro's, the two cars are inextricably linked by the spirit of Vorsprung durch Technik.