Audi’s mid-engined R4 coupe may still see the light of a showroom floor, but the car’s future is not yet secured.
Autocar reports that parent-company Volkswagen is currently deciding whether to use a pressed steel or alloy spaceframe chassis.
There’s no hurry for Audi’s R&D as the R4 isn’t replacing any existing model, though depending on price, it could take sales from the already low volume TT coupe and convertible. April was Audi’s second-best month ever in the U.S., but only 207 TTs left dealerships — an improvement over the 160 in April 2009.
Should the Audi R4 (the Detroit e-tron concept is shown here) make it to production, Volkswagen would use the same platform for its own mid-engined coupe and convertible like the BlueSport concept. The addition of such a car to Volkswagen’s lineup would fill a small niche and join the Eos and New Beetle Convertible.
We haven’t forgotten about Porsche, which also might use such a platform for a car below the Boxster, as that roadster has steadily risen in price. A new Porsche Boxster costs $48,550 (including destination) without HID headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, heated front seats, or Bluetooth. Clearly, there’s room for a cheaper car in Porsche’s lineup and if the Audi R4 is to be made, Volkswagen and Porsche involvement could be crucial.
“Scale is important to a project like this,” an Audi source said to Autocar. “But with three different car makers working to a common goal, the chances [of getting the production green light] look good.”
A production R4, Autocar says, would offer a choice of 1.4- and 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engines along with a 2.0-liter diesel for some markets.
Should the Audi R4 be built, would you prefer it over a similar mid-engined Volkswagen or Porsche?