The fight for the Audi TT and R8's survival is on within the halls of the German brand. According to the brand's CEO Bram Schot, both cars have an uncertain future as it takes a hard look at profitability.
Schot declared Audi will always have "icon cars," but gave caution to the future of the TT and R8, in a report by the British website Auto Express from the brand's annual General Meeting this week. Volumes and profitability are of concern at Audi and neither sports car may cut it in the future.
Another executive looked at the sports cars with greener pastures ahead.
2020 Audi TT RS
Audi board member for technical development, Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, said it's his mission to convince his colleagues that the TT must go on. If it does, it will have to feature some sort of electrified powertrain, which could mean hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or full battery electric propulsion. The same situation applies to the R8, he added.
In the years to come, discussions will focus on what will still be needed for internal-combustion engines and what models can move to "e-mobility" quickly. Currently, e-mobility includes hybrids and battery electrics, but it could move to only battery-powered vehicles in the future. Neither Schot or Rothenpieler would explicitly say electrification will, in fact, save the TT and R8, but it's the best shot for both models to continue into future generations.
For the R8, that task might be easier. The sports car shares some of the cost burden with the Lamborghini Huracán, and we already know the Italian brand has plans to introduce a successor to the entry-level sports car. The next car will still feature a V-10, but it will be a hybrid. Audi could stuff the electrified powertrain into a new R8 and share the costs with Lamborghini. That could make for a solid business case.
2019 Audi R8
The TT is tougher to visualize in a crystal ball. It could become one of Audi's more emotional cars based on the electric MEB platform and ditch the internal-combustion engine. VW Group has several brands, so a next-generation TT could also share costs with one of them and go with some type of hybrid powertrain. Audi technical chief Ulrich Hackenberg previously said the brand is "happy" with the TT at the moment and also underscored future work on electrified vehicles.
One thing is clear: The e-tron GT will be one of the brand's "icons" to carry its emotional cars into the future.
We won't know the fate of the TT or R8 for years to come, but without electrification, Audi can kiss two of its sports cars goodbye.