The 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider delivers essentially the same numbers as the coupe V10 supercar: 0 - 60 in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph.

The 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider delivers essentially the same numbers as the coupe V10 supercar: 0 - 60 in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph.

There’s something special about feeling the wind blow through your hair, but the feeling will likely be more like a hurricane should you stomp on the throttle of the 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider.

The long-awaited convertible version of Audi’s hot-selling sports car makes its formal debut, Tuesday morning, at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, but the German maker provided a sneak peek during a background briefing for more than 2000 of the brand’s closest friends – TheDetroitBureau.com among them.

The cloth top can be operated even while driving, at low speeds, as Audi CEO Rupert Stadler demonstrated while driving the Spider onto the stage.  With the top down, the cabriolet retains the basic lines of the popular R8 sports car – and pretty much all of its performance.

The visual changes are surprisingly modest, with the 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider, most notably with the speedster-style rear humps which feature modified air intakes.

The visual changes are surprisingly modest, with the 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider, most notably with the speedster-style rear humps which feature modified air intakes.

The 5.2-liter V10 version pumps out a neck-snapping 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, enough to launch the 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds.  Top speed is 196 mph, the same as the coupe version.

The rest of the car is pretty much in line with the new Audi R8 V10, down to the lightweight aluminum spaceframe and the carbon fiber that surrounds the rear-mounted engine.  The front headlights feature 24 LED bulbs, honoring the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, where Audi has dominated for much of the last decade.

Besides the power-operated convertible top, the most distinctive design difference is the twin speedster humps, which also provide rollover protection.  And they incorporate slightly redesigned air intakes.

According to Stadler, the 2010 Audi R8 5.2 Spider will make its debut “in time for the next convertible season,” which means Spring of 2010.  No word on pricing, though it should add at least a few thousand onto the $146,000 base price of the R8 V10 coupe.

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