We've been anticipating a compact sports car, expected to be called the R4, for years now. Unfortunately, the project may already be dead if the latest reports bear out.

The Audi e-tron Concept from 2010 was said to be a near-perfect preview of the car--though the concept's all-electric powertrain would be replaced by a gas-burner. Now it looks like there are no plans for the car at all. The reasoning given by a report in Auto Motor und Sport? Conflict with Audi's TT and Porsche's Boxster--cannibalizing sales.

Another possible alternative reason could be the talk of production for the Quattro concept, itself a similarly-sized though significantly higher performance coupe than the R4 was expected to be. With it sitting in a niche--and bearing a historical significance--that holds it away from similar cars, it could yet survive. On the other hand, there were rumors the Quattro would be renamed R4 for production--if that's the case, the reports of its demise are doubly depressing.

We'll keep following the hints and rumors on the R4 as we look for official word on the car's status (or non-status) as well, so stay tuned.

[Auto Motor und Sport]