Report: A Turbo-Five for Audi’s R4?

Whispers of a sub-R8 mid-engined Audi sports car – theoretically dubbed the R4 – are nothing new. That said, we’re now hearing some rumors that the car could, in fact, be built with a turbocharged five-cylinder engine in tow. Rumors of the R4 first emerged after the Volkswagen BlueSport concept broke cover in 2009, but the latest indication is the car will likely bear a close resemblance to the series of e-tron concepts shown earlier this year. According to AutoExpress, the car will debut first as a drop-top (patterned after the e-tronspyder shown above), but will be followed up with a fixed-roof variant. The R4 will likely be offered in a semi-electrified form in the future, but it will debut with a more conventional powertrain configuration. AutoExpress now says the R4 could pack Audi’s turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder engine, and tuned to produce nearly 400 hp. A good choice, and one that will likely lend the car some Audi character when compared to the other small roadsters the VW group is working on. The hybrid version of the R4 is expected to use a set up similar to the e-tron Spyder. A mid-mounted internal-combustion engine will power the rear wheels, while an electric motor is tasked with propelling the front. Interestingly, the platform beneath the R4 appears to still be an unknown. We’ve reported on two options: the car could use a new midengine platform that’s being developed for a production-intent BlueSport and a “baby Boxster” for Porsche, or it could simply use a shortened version R8’s spaceframe, AutoExpress expects prices for the R4 to land around £50,000 (around $70-80,000) when it hits the streets sometime around 2014 or 2015. Source: AutoExpress

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