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The Audi R8 Spyder lightweight convertible roof features a “sound deflector”

News International-French

15 Sep 2017

Webasto creates a ready-to-install module soft top for the Audi R8 Spyder.

The Audi R8 Spyder lightweight convertible roof features a “sound deflector”

Impressive 540 horsepower emanating from ten cylinders generate superlative driving performance accompanied by a remarkable sound. A sound that drivers of this mid-engine sports car will enjoy most with the top down. Webasto, a market specialist for convertible roofs, enables precisely this with its module soft top for the Spyder version of the Audi Sport high-performance supercar, the Audi R8. The experts for open air driving have created a technological work that offers drivers of the Audi R8 Spyder the pleasure of a fresh air experience.

For a high-performance sportscar, weight is a fundamental issue in terms of both the car body and the top. To address this, Webasto has developed a convertible roof module that combines its key features: lightweight, to emphasize the car’s sports personality, and at the same time rugged and superior quality, to meet the extreme demands of this sportscar.

The extraordinary showstopper for drivers who want to revel in the powerhouse sound of the engine even when the top is closed: the so-called “sound deflector.” The Webasto engineers developed the module with an integrated rear window that can be lowered individually, thereby ensuring pure sound enjoyment for drivers and their passengers - despite being under cover of the roof. On the other hand, when the top is down, the rear window can be raised at the touch of a button, so it functions as a wind deflector.

The technical details 
This high-performance convertible soft top is the product of a triad of innovative technology, advanced production techniques and comprehensive quality assurance.

A distinctive feature of the Audi R8 Spyder convertible roof is the fact that it is designed as a module. Along with the actual soft top, this includes additional scopes of delivery that reduce procurement and installation costs for vehicle production at Audi Sport. Webasto accomplished this by combining seven large component assemblies into a ready-to-install comprehensive module. All it takes is a few simple steps to integrate this convertible roof module into the vehicle on the manufacturer’s production line – one could compare it to the marriage of the engine with the chassis in motor vehicle construction.

In automotive design, every gram counts. That is why Webasto pursued the further development of the soft top module for the second generation of the Audi R8 Spyder with a focus on lightweight design. Weighing a total of 44 kilos, the new convertible roof is around two kilos lighter than its predecessor – a major advance in this segment. This was achieved by using various lightweight construction materials, not just aluminum and aluminum die casting but also magnesium and ultimately carbon fiber.

Quiet reigns in the interior thanks to the insulation incorporated in the soft top. It shields the passenger compartment from road and wind noise. The top also meets very high standards in terms of aerodynamics and the optimum connection of the canopy to the kinematics, which prevents wind shear and wind noise. Furthermore, the use of French seams, an elaborate sewing technique which involves flat, tight seaming to join panels, minimizes any wind turbulence on the roof.

The drive that powers the convertible roof is as enormously powerful as it is quiet. The fully automatic electro-hydraulic drive system with five cylinders opens and closes the top at driving speeds of up to 50 km/h – even with headwinds of up to 50 km/h. Thus, the soft top can withstand a wind load of up to 100 km/h with a moving convertible roof while driving – on the scale of wind forces, this corresponds to the “heavy storm” category.

Even in extreme curves, with up to 1 G of lateral acceleration, the soft top opens and closes easily. Just to compare: A Formula One race car is subjected to 1 to 1.5 G’s when it takes off.