Top Gear Speedweek: Audi R8 V10 Plus Spyder vs Lexus LS500

On paper, the only thing these two cars have in common is natural-aspiration. Neither the Audi R8 V10 Spyder nor the Lexus LC500 have a single turbocharger or supercharger between the two of them. However, that’s where their similarities end. The Audi R8 sports a mid-mounted V10, a dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive, while the Lexus has a front-mounted V8, a torque-converter automatic and rear-wheel drive. The Audi R8 is a supercar and the Lexus LC500 is a grand-tourer. Oh, and the R8 is a convertible and the LC500 isn’t. Which is what makes them an interesting pairing in Top Gear’s Speedweek testing.

To be honest, it’s a test that becomes closer the more you drive the two cars. Reason being is that both cars offer similar emotional experiences, despite being completely different in almost every way. The Lexus LC500 eschews typical Lexus stereotypes by being really quite good fun. Its free-breathing 5.0 liter V8 makes 471 hp and screams a delicious howl while making every singly one. It’s also a tail-happy, rear-wheel drive coupe that makes big slides and big smiles. Its only real downside is its slow-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission and it can feel a bit cumbersome in anything but its sharpest settings.

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On the flip-side, the Audi R8 V10 Spyder is the sharper, more dynamic car. It isn’t as much of a hooligan though and isn’t as buttoned down. It’s tighter, sharper and more composed. It’s also faster, thanks to its 610 hp 5.2 liter naturally-aspirated V10. Also, its dual-clutch ‘box is much better than the auto of the Lexus. The only real downside of the Audi R8 is its brakes, which feel inadequate to haul down the R8 Spyder’s considerable mass.

Both cars are excellent cars and performance machines that anyone would be happy to own. I’m not personally sold on the Lexus’ looks, but that seems to be a pretty unpopular opinion. However, they’re both excellent cars that look exciting, sound even more exciting and go like hell. Top Gear doesn’t really pick a winner per say, but it seems they like the Lexus more. It’s also a lot cheaper, so there’s that.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.