2012 Audi R4 rendering
Just six months ago it looked like the project was dead, but another report issued a month later claimed the project was very much alive.
It lives on, apparently, although Audi has not yet officially given the green light for the R4’s production. Auto Express quotes an Audi insider as saying, “if the go-ahead was given today, it would take around three years to put into production.”
That hardly sounds like a done deal to us, and no one is even sure about what platform or engines Audi will use. Most sources guess that early models of the R4 will come with a variant of the 2.5-liter five-cylinder used in the Audi TT.
Later versions, Auto Express speculates, will use a hybrid drivetrain consisting of a mid-engine, rear drive layout supplemented by front-mounted electric motors. Such a layout would allow “electric only” operation in front wheel drive, or a more performance-oriented, torque-vectoring all wheel drive that uses both gas and electric power.
The big question, aside from whether or not Audi will actually build the car, is how to position it. Equipped with a modestly powered, conventional engine, the R4 could be a legitimate competitor to Porsche’s Boxster or Cayman.
Built as a performance-oriented hybrid, however, the R4 could target both the Porsche 911 and the upcoming Jaguar C-X16. We promise to keep you advised, just as soon as Audi makes up its mind about the R4.