Small, entry-level Audi roadster's future in VW's hands; baby Porsche Boxster to share tech
10 May 2010

The future of the Audi R4, a Boxster-sized mid-engined sports car, currently hangs in the balance as Audi and Volkswagen decide whether steel or alloy body construction is the way forward for the all-new model.

The final stamp of approval for the R4 rests with parent company Volkswagen, according to high-ranking Audi insiders in Ingolstadt.

They say production feasibility studies are yet to determine whether a pressed steel or alloy spaceframe chassis is the better option. The e-tron concept car was based, like the R8, around an alloy spaceframe.

Engineers involved in the studies have told Autocar that lines have been drawn between the cheap-to-produce yet relatively heavy monocoque or the more expensive but lightweight aluminium structure.

One source told us: “The reaction to the e-tron concept has been overwhelming.

"We’re weighing up all of the options and possibilities. There’s no real time pressure because we’re not replacing an existing model but establishing a new one.”

Volkswagen’s involvement in the R4 programme stems from its own plans to use the same platform to create an even more affordable mid-engined coupé/roadster along the lines of its BlueSport concept, which was unveiled at the 2009 Detroit motor show.

In a production strategy similar to that of the Volkswagen Polo/Audi A1 and Volkswagen Golf/Audi A3, the two car makers plan to create two distinctly different cars using a common mid-engine/rear-wheel drive structure.

A final green light for the new platform also hinges on a decision from Porsche, which is studying proposals to create a new entry-level model positioned underneath the Boxster and using the same underpinnings.

"Scale is important to a project like this,” an Audi source told Autocar. “But with three different car makers working to a common goal, the chances [of it getting the go-ahead] look good.”

Although the Audi e-tron concept car was revealed with an all-electric driveline, the production version of the R4 is planned to come with the choice of turbocharged 1.4–litre and 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engines as well as a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine.

 

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13

10 May 2010

It has to be the lightweight option, it doesnt matter if it costs a lot more, look at the price of a nissan leaf, if they can make it light with small but powerful petrol turbo engine it will be economic to run and be fun, and better than any electric.

forget steel its the past not the future, look at the A2, made ages ago and very sought after now, just no market back then, there is now.

At least if they make it aluminium they can adjust pricing as the years go by, if they make it steel it will always be heavy and could just be a wasted project, when other competitors are making better things.

10 May 2010

[quote beachland2]

It has to be the lightweight option, it doesnt matter if it costs a lot more, look at the price of a nissan leaf, if they can make it light with small but powerful petrol turbo engine it will be economic to run and be fun, and better than any electric.

forget steel its the past not the future, look at the A2, made ages ago and very sought after now, just no market back then, there is now.

At least if they make it aluminium they can adjust pricing as the years go by, if they make it steel it will always be heavy and could just be a wasted project, when other competitors are making better things.

[/quote]

For once, Beachy, I agree with every single word you say. Aluminium is definitely the way forward for this car. Hopefully there'll be a Porsche version too, with flat-four engines spun off the same architecture as the flat-six, so they'd be a spiritual successor to the rather lovely 914.

10 May 2010

[quote Autocar]In a production strategy similar to that of the Volkswagen Polo/Audi A1 and Volkswagen Golf/Audi A3, the two car makers plan to create two distinctly different cars using a common mid-engine/rear-wheel drive structure.[/quote]

So, in other words, one will be reasonably competent, with some premium-brand cachet, while the other one will be ugly, hugely overpriced, with terrible ride quality yet somehow no improvement in handling, basically just a car for idiotic badge snobs.

10 May 2010

i can see a little maserati, Aston martin and side mirror from halfords .. hummmm i can bet the final design will be nothing like this!

10 May 2010

The front end is very like Pininfarina's 2uettottano exposed et the Geneva autoshow, Alfa is again well ahead!!!

10 May 2010

[quote RadeB]The front end is very like Pininfarina's 2uettottano exposed et the Geneva autoshow, Alfa is again well ahead!!![/quote]

I think you'll find that the Audi was unveiled long before the Alfa.

10 May 2010

[quote Rover P6 3500S]I think you'll find that the Audi was unveiled long before the Alfa.[/quote] Yes? Where?

10 May 2010

[quote RadeB][quote Rover P6 3500S]I think you'll find that the Audi was unveiled long before the Alfa.[/quote] Yes? Where?[/quote]

Detroit, January. The Alfa was unveiled in Geneva in March. That's two whole months.

10 May 2010

[quote Rover P6 3500S]Detroit, January. The Alfa was unveiled in Geneva in March. That's two whole months[/quote] You are right, I thought this picture in Autocar is new one.

10 May 2010

[quote beachland2]forget steel its the past not the future[/quote]

I think you should ask an A8 owner what it cost to repair the car park scratch on their aluminum body panels.
The number you will hear is the primary reason why noone will even consider putting aluminum into mainstream cars. That's unless there is a shop with inert atmosphere welding at every corner.

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