A lightweight, high-performance Audi TT features among three advanced new models awaiting the green light from company bosses.
The exciting variant of the next-generation TT is seen by insiders as an extreme ‘GT3’ performance version to sit at the top of the coupé’s range.
“The TT is an iconic car for Audi and has a very interesting future,” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, Audi’s new head of technical development.
The hot model would be a ‘multi-material’ version of the next TT. It is being designed around a 1000kg kerb weight target, even though it will get a five-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive and a roll cage.
Details of the powertrain remain secret, although the obvious one to use would be the turbocharged five-cylinder unit that will power the next-generation TT RS. In current 2.5-litre capacity, this engine produces 335bhp.
Based on the new, transverse-engined MQB platform, the TT GT3 will save weight with components and body panels made from lightweight steel, aluminium and carbonfibre. Audi could use a new type of injection-moulded carbonfibre capable of forming a component in just two and a half minutes.
Inspiration for the TT GT3, which is thought to be at least three years from the showroom, is understood to have partly come from the 2010 Quattro concept, which used a longitudinal engine layout and part-alloy multi-material chassis construction.
Dürheimer also hinted at other high-tech projects, including a 282mpg, four-seat city car and a Le Mans-inspired diesel-electric hypercar to sit above the R8. Also in the pipeline are a new Q7 that is said to be 350kg lighter than the current car, and at least one more coupé-like SUV to slot between the Q3 and Q5. A sub-Q3 SUV is also possible.
Describing the 282mpg model (known internally as the ‘1-litre car’), Dürheimer said it will be based on the platform of the current A1 and will be an “affordable” full four-seater that offers “all the creature comforts of a normal car, including climate control”.
Details are still sketchy, but it promises to be the most economical family car ever sold. It will also feature electrical assistance, but not the two-cylinder diesel engine seen in the Volkswagen XLR-1 prototype.
Dürheimer says the 1-litre car can use a modified steel platform from the A1, “because weight is not the biggest engineering challenge”.
However, the interior and suspension are likely to be radically lighter than normal.
Book-ending the top of the Audi range could be a new V8 diesel hybrid hypercar. Sitting above the R8 and potentially badged R10, it is intended to be a road-going mirror of Audi’s Le Mans-winning R18 e-tron quattro.
That car used electricity generated from a flywheel system that powered an electric motor in each front wheel to improve performance when exiting corners at speeds above 75mph.
The 2014 Q7 is expected to benefit from a multi-material version of Audi’s MLB platform that mixes steel, aluminium and carbonfibre and uses new bonding techniques to help pare 200kg out of the shell. The next Porsche Cayenne and future Bentley Continental and SUV are likely to benefit, too.
Autocar has also established that a prototype Bentley Flying Spur powered by a V8 diesel has been under assessment at the maker’s Crewe HQ.