AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
In a seemingly never ending quest to fill every single automotive niche, no matter how big or small, Audi AG has given the strongest indications yet that it’s R4, a smaller counterpart to the R8 mid-engined supercar, is slated for production after all. (Previous reports had indicated the project was axed).
The latest rumors circulating indicate that not only is the R4 destined to become a reality, but also that it will take many cues from the e-tron Spyder and be conceived from the outset as a convertible, though a coupe version is likely to join it.
As for driveline options, the R4 will come with a conventional internal combustion engine, probably a version of Audi’s 2.5-liter in-line five, though a hybrid is also expected.
Of course, being an Audi, a version of the quattro AWD system is a given, though one inside source at Audi says that in the R4′s case, certainly for the hybrid model, there won’t be a conventional link between the rear and front wheels, instead a torque vectoring system will be employed to harmonize traction between the gas engine powered back tires and the electric motor activated fronts.
As for chassis construction, there are rumors that the car could use a scaled down version of the R8′s aluminum space frame, though sharing a platform with VW and Porsche’s possible up and coming mid-engined small cars seems more likely.
Nevertheless, if and when it does arrive, the R4 promises to offer a good deal of driving thrills, with a high level of efficiency, especially in Hybrid form (the e-tron Spyder can operate at a distance of up to 37 miles on pure electric power).
As for pricing, nothing has really been suggested, though one source says the car could sell for around £50,000 (roughly $80,000), which would put it very much in Porsche 911 territory.
GALLERY: Audi E-Tron Concept
[Source: Auto Express]
Several videos of a mystery Audi coupe have surfaced online, showing what appears to be the upcoming R4. The videos were taken at the Olympia Ski Resort in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria and it seems as though a production company is making either a commercial or a promo video for the new car.
The smaller model looks very much like the e-Tron Concept that was first shown at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year and recent reports have suggested a roadster version of that car will debut at the upcoming Paris Auto Show as a close-to-production R4.
Check out the videos after the jump and compare the car’s lines with the e-tron concept from Detroit:
GALLERY: Audi E-Tron Concept
Porsche‘s $630,000 918 Spyder isn’t the only new sports car the company is seeking to add to its lineup. According to reports from Bloomberg, the German sports car maker is set to debut a new line of smaller roadsters set to slot in below the current Boxster.
A sub-Boxster model has been rumored for years, but the Bloomberg article contains the first concrete evidence pointing towards it, quoting Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn as confirming the new model.
Winterkorn’s assertion lends credibility to the rumors that one platform will spawn not only the new Porsche, but the Volkswagen Bluesport roadster and the long-rumored Audi R4, albeit with different engines that are representative of their respective brands.
Audi has already confirmed that the E-Tron concept that made its world premiere at the Frankfurt Auto Show last month will see production, and now recent reports suggest the car will go under the R4 badge. The news comes from the U.K.’s AutoExpress, which also suggests gasoline versions may be available and that this vehicle would be based on the next generation of the Porsche Boxster and Cayman platform. This would mean that it would slot in between the TT and R8.
Like the concept, the production model will use four electric motors (one for each wheel) to deliver Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive performance like never before. The car will make over 300-hp and more than 3,000 ft-lbs of torque with a 0-60 time of just under 5 seconds.
The R4 is expected to see production by 2012.