THIS is not real life, this is the stuff of fantasy. An escape from reality.

Sitting on my driveway this week is the Audi R8 V10 Spyder, one of the most desirable cars in the world.

It comes with a price tag of more than £120,000, drinks fuel at a prolific rate and not only costs a very handsome sum to insure but also comes with an annual road tax bill of £2,000.

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In other words, this is a car that only a privileged few can afford to buy. The rest of us can only admire it at a distance. Unless, of course, you are a trusted motoring journalist.

The R8 has been the flag-bearer of the Audi range since its launch in 2006, when it left the doubters who questioned whether the company could create a supercar eating their words.

I have driven most versions in the 11 years since then and I reckon the V10 Spyder, with its option to bring the canvas roof down in 20 seconds at the pull of a switch, represents the pinnacle of its development.

Spot one in your rear view mirror and it will be the piercing all-LED headlights that catch your attention first. The front grille has been subtly tweaked and now wears chromed horizontal details on V10 versions, and the side blades are also a little bigger on ten-cylinder models.

Massive changes they are not, and with good reason; this is still a fantastic looking car, both in coupé and Spyder forms. It has immense presence.

The V10 Spyder has a 5.2-litre that produces 540PS. Transmission is through a S tronic seven-speed gearbox that provides dual-clutch wizardry and rapid and seamless shifts.

Piloting the V10 Spyder out through city centre traffic is exactly the kind of challenge that everyday supercars have to take in their stride, and the V10 Spyder copes perfectly well. Leave the transmission in automatic mode (you still get a chunky alloy lever and paddles to select the gearbox's actions) and you can pedal the R8 along without expending much more effort than you would in a regular car. Not that this spoils the sense of occasion however, because sitting snugly in the R8's cockpit you become aware of the head-turning from pedestrians and other drivers

It takes only a moment to access the more dynamic side of the R8’s personality. Make the switch to Sport mode and the revs flare instantly as the throttle response is sharpened and the gearbox switches into a more aggressive programme. The thing you’ll notice first, however, is the howling and blipping from the exhaust as it opens out completely to give the engine its full voice.

In this mode, the V10 delivers such a fantastic range of noises it encourages you to change down very early and hold on to gears for longer just to hear it sing. Squeeze on the throttle and there’s a hardening of the exhaust note. Pin the pedal to the floor and the response is dramatic. Whatever you ask of it, the V10 Spyder responds emphatically with a mighty push in the back.

On open roads, the R8 – in whatever form – comes into its own. In V10 Spyder form you can experience the jaw-dropping acceleration of 0 to 62mph in 3.8 seconds with the wind in your hair.

Crucially, the Quattro drivetrain provides reassurance rather than nanny-like interference. The steering is sharp and responsive but not nervous, allowing you to revel in the grip.

That the R8 is so responsive and accessible when you press on yet comfortable and unobtrusive when you’re just burbling through town is exactly why, if you have a big enough wallet, you’d buy one.

Thank you, Audi, for building this car. And thank you for the week-long escape from reality.