Although it was rumoured by the automotive press since the announcement of the production variant of the R8 in 2006, it was only in August 2008 that spy shots of a convertible R8 "Spyder" from filming scenes of the movie Iron Man 2 were published online. The photos showed a visible soft-top roof and the absence of the distinctive "sideblades" found on the V10 FSI coupé. The R8 Spyder was formally unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Compared with the coupé model, the convertible had extra chassis support, a pair of roll-over safety bars, as well as minor changes such as the location of the fuel filler cap. It was powered by the same uneven firing 5.2-litre V10 engine as the coupé.
With the 2012 facelift came a change in the gearbox to offer a quicker & smoother change in Audi's flagship sports car. The R-Tronic system was replaced with the 7-speed DCT S-Tronic which instantly transformed the drive of the V10 R8. Alongside this change come improvements to standard spec with LED headlights now coming as standard as well as Audi's magnetic ride adaptive suspension system.