From A1 to R8: Audi's Future Product Plans Revealed

Audi's been on a roll the last few years with its sexy A5/S5 coupe, the redesigned A4, R8 supercar, and the new A8 luxo-barge. Audi hopes to keep its success going with a number of new models and redesigns planned over the next few years. Here's what's in store for the four-ringed brand:

A1 and A2

They're not confirmed for the United States just yet, but Audi has two new small cars worthy of a mention -- just in case we do get them.

Audi's Mini competitor, the A1, debuted at last March's Geneva Motor Show, and Audi already has plans to sell it everywhere but the States. Its crisp styling and fuel-efficient engine lineup present an alternative to those not smitten with the cutesy British hatch.

A 1.4-liter twin-charged (supercharged and turbocharged) four-cylinder engine -- which produces 185 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission -- will top a lineup of five engines.

European sales of the A1 started at the end of August, with global sales slated to begin next year. We'll have to wait until the 2015 debut of the second-generation A1, at the earliest.

The A2, which was a slow seller in its previous iteration, will be revived for the 2013 model year. It will likely ride on Volkswagen's upcoming New Small Family platform, the same as the Volkswagen Up!, and will initially be part of Audi's e-tron range with a lithium-ion battery pack and all-electric propulsion. More powertrain options, including a range of efficient three-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines and a yet-to-be-defined hybrid, will come later. It's reported that if an A2 model crosses the Atlantic after 2013, it'll likely be only the the electric-powered variant.

A3

Despite several updates, the current A3 is beginning to get a little long in the tooth, and is due for a complete overhaul shortly. The next-generation A3, expected for the 2012 model year, will include a sedan version in addition to the four-door hatchback.

A4

Neither the current A4, introduced for the 2009 model year, nor the S4, introduced for 2010, are set for a makeover until the 2013 model year. In the meantime, Audi is reportedly considering adding a TDI model to the A4 lineup using the 3.0-liter, turbo-diesel V-6 from the Q7. Expect an RS4 model in a few years, likely with a twin-turbocharged V-6.

A5

Expect the A5 coupe and convertible, and their higher-performance S5 siblings, to be refreshed in 2012. Prior to the refresh, the RS5 coupe will arrive, powered by a version of the S5 coupe and R8's 4.2-liter V-8 that produces 450 horsepower. It uses a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and offers Audi's torque-vectoring rear differential. We can't wait to try one on this side of the pond sometime next summer. A6

Audi updated its A6 for the 2009 model year, adding a 3.0-liter supercharged, direct-injected V-6 along with a few cosmetic changes. An all-new A6, riding on the just-introduced A7 platform, is due out next year. The engine lineup will be downsized in light of increasing fuel economy and emissions standard and will include a 2.0-liter, turbo four and the 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6.

A7

Previewed by the 2009 Sportback Concept, the A7 is Audi's attempt at a four-door coupe à la Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. Rather than the coupe-like styling seen on the CLS, Audi opted to create more of a hatchback profile with a steeply raked roof. When it goes on sale next year, it will only be available with the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, at least at launch. S and RS versions are under development and have been spotted undergoing testing in Europe. A8

The A8 is brand-new for the 2011 model year and hits dealerships this November. It features clean, familial styling and a host of technology upgrades including an MMI system with a touchpad. Powertrains for the redesigned car include a 372-horsepower 4.2-liter V-8 and a 500-horsepower 6.3-liter W-12, both of which are coupled to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. As is required in this über-lux class, a long-wheelbase option will be available.

Q3

Audi's long-rumored baby 'ute is going head-to-head with BMW's new X1. The upcoming crossover that looks to be based on Volkswagen's Tiguan, from spy photos, is destined for production next year, but won't come to our shores until 2013. Q5

Audi's mid-size crossover is set for several updates this year. It just received Audi's 2.0-liter turbo four and new eight-speed automatic transmission, and later next year, a hybrid powertrain will also be added. Q7

Last year, Audi refreshed the Q7's exterior and interior, but left the powertrain offerings untouched. This year, the only updates are in the form of engines and transmissions: The 4.2-liter V-8 and 3.6-liter V-6 have both been replaced by two takes on the 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6, offering 333 and 276 horsepower, respectively. The 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine will still be offered, and all of the engines are now coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission. TT

Thanks to a successful Facebook petition, the TT RS is destined for the U.S. in the third-quarter of 2011. It uses a turbocharged 2.5-liter I-5 that produces 360 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, along with a six-speed manual transmission, to propel the car to 62 mph in 4.6 seconds. Unfortunately for open-top motorists, the convertible version will still be relegated to Europe, but at least we finally get the TT RS.

Other updates for the TT include a slight refresh next year along with a more potent 2.0-liter I-4 base engine. A full redesign is due in 2014.

R4

Audi unveiled its e-tron Detroit Show Car at the 2010 Detroit auto show to preview the upcoming R4. The R4 will be, in the spirit of the R8, a mid-engine sports car based on the Volkswagen BlueSport Roadster chassis. When it goes on sale, likely next year, it may feature the 200-horsepower version of the A4's 2.0-liter turbo four, while the uplevel option could hum the 265-horsepower tune of the TT S. An all-electric model may be in the works for production. R8

The R8 5.2 Spyder will go on sale early next year in time for convertible season and will later be joined by a 4.2 version. Another recent addition was the performance-topping R8 GT.

An all-electric version of the R8, previewed by the two larger orange and red e-tron concepts, will go on sale in 2012 under the e-tron sub-brand. Production of the electric supercar will be limited to just 100 units.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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