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.”