Porsche has made plans to revive its close ties with Audi, following the sports car maker’s takeover of the Volkswagen Group.
Well placed sources say that Porsche bosses are keen to restart the kind of engineering collaboration with Audi that produced the RS2 super-estate in the mid 1990s.
One of the first Audis in line for a Porsche makeover, once the company directors give the green light, is said to be the upcoming A5 Sportback, a more practical version of the A5 coupé with two more doors and a bigger boot.
By using the guts of the RS5, due out next year, Porsche and Audi could create a four-wheel-drive 4.2-litre V8 super-estate.
The RS5 is tipped to produce 450bhp from the V8, so Porsche may find other ways of improving performance, such as cutting weight.
In an interview with Autocar, Porsche boss Wendelin Wiedeking said he was puzzled that Audi had not continued working with Porsche after the success of the limited-run RS2. He revealed that it was something Porsche would have been keen to continue.
It’s thought that Porsche is attracted to the scheme now because of its substantial profit margins. Company product planners also figure that sales of these limited-edition super-saloons are unlikely to be hit too hard, even in a global downturn.
Porsche will be mindful that a full-blown global recession will hammer margins on its own sports car range, as sales of profitable models such as the 911 Turbo and GT2/3 slump.
The first public signs of the secret plans appeared in September when the VW board passed a measure designed to prevent formal collaboration between Porsche and Audi without the express consent of the VW supervisory board.
The stormy board meeting exposed a major dispute between VW chairman Ferdinand Piech (once the highly regarded engineering boss at both Porsche and Audi) and his cousin Wolfgang Porsche.
However, last week the Piech and Porsche families came to an agreement over Porsche’s plan to take over VW. A move that may well open the way for Porsche and Audi to start working together on performance models.