Volkswagen BlueSport

These days, an auto giant like the Volkswagen Group can hardly justify a new platform unless it can amortize the cost across numerous variants. Fortunately, VW has enough brands in its portfolio to do exactly that.

Just as the same platform underpins the Volkswagen Polo, Audi A1, Skoda Fabia and Seat Ibiza (none of which, of course, are available in North America), and another underpins the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, so will the company's next mid-engine roadster platform be distributed into numerous models across the corporate tree. The project has been several years in the making, but as development speeds towards production, Autocar has some details on what to expect.

The platform is expected to breed a production version of the above-pictured Volkswagen BlueSport that started it all a couple of years ago, as well as an Audi R4 and Porsche 550 revival. While both the Audi and Porsche are expected to offer 2.0-liter turbo fours, the engines are tipped to be entirely different: an inline for the Audi and a flat-four boxer for the Porsche. The R4 is rumored to get a diesel powerplant as well, while the VW is expected to start with a 1.4-liter turbo four. Output for the different versions is expected to range from 170 to 380 horsepower.

Power isn't all that will separate one model from the other, however. The styling, for one, is expected to take different directions, the Volkswagen fitting into that brands straight-edge styling language, the R4 taking its sharp cues from the e-tron concept and the Porsche taking a more rounded, retro approach reminiscent of the 550 Spyder of yore.

Pricing and market position will also define one model as distinct from another, the Volkswagen targeting the Mazda MX-5, the Audi taking the place that BMW's Z3 once held (and could once again), with the Porsche taking top position just under the next-generation Boxster. In other words, no lack of choices, and all of them with the wind auf dein kopf.