The Audi A3 family will soon grow to add an MPV that could be called the Audi V4. Autocar reports that the multi-purpose vehicle will be based on the same MQB chassis used for the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf, but extended for both five- and seven-passenger versions.
Audi has reportedly already built a model of the V4, and company officials are currently deciding whether to show it as a concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The car would have a higher seating position than other MQB hatchbacks, and a longer rear overhang to accommodate an extra row of seats for a seven-passenger version.
Audi first toyed with the idea of an MPV back in 2006 with the Roadjet concept (pictured below), but that never progressed past the show-car stage. In early 2012, we revealed that Audi had plans for a so-called A4 Superavant, a high-roof version that would have been longer and more spacious than the extant A4 Avant wagon. The car was meant to slot in between the A4 and the Audi Q5 crossover, and could have been sold as soon as 2014. It would only have offered two rows of seats because, as an engineer told us then, "The last thing we want to create is a minivan… Because a minivan is incompatible with the Audi brand image."
However, by fall 2012, we learned that Audi's plans had changed. The A4 Superavant was seen as a threat to the A6 Avant, so it was scrapped in favor of a tall-roof A3. The Audi A3 Vario was expected to offer similar interior space to the Audi A4 Avant, but with a more dramatic style and a smaller overall footprint. We reported that the A3 Vario would based on the next Volkswagen Touran MPV, which is due by the middle of next year, although Audi's version would be longer and lower, and its wheelbase would be extended to accommodate a third row of seats. We reported that the car was due to reach showrooms by 2015.
It's unclear whether we should expect to see the Audi V4 concept next month in Frankfurt. Autocar confirms our reports that the V4 is at least three years away from series production.
Illustrations by Larson/Autobild