Audi e-tron Detroit Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery
According to Autocar in the UK, which is citing unknown "high-ranking Audi insiders in Ingolstadt," the future of the Audi R4, Volkswagen BlueSport and possibly an unnamed entry-level model from Porsche (we vote 914) are currently being mulled by the three-headed German automaker. The major stumbling block? Whether or not a stamped steel architecture or Audi's familiar aluminum spaceframe chassis should be used.
Naturally, we'd argue for the light weight of aluminum, which seems more appropriate for a line of sportscars and would be a boon for both performance and efficiency... but at the price point afforded by the much less expensive steel. Decisions, decisions.
In any case, the British mag continues to suggest that the R4 would presumably get two turbocharged gasoline engines (1.4-liter and 1.6-liter) along with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel mill in lieu of the all-electric powertrain shown off in concept form. While we mourn the loss of the conceptual EV, we know that Audi is hard at work on other electric vehicles and the idea of a sporty diesel roadster certainly is appealing.
Volkswagen, parent company of both Audi and Porsche, is said to get the final say in the development of all three machines, but some sort of production seems likely. Says the unnamed insider, "Scale is important to a project like this... But with three different car makers working to a common goal, the chances [of it getting the go-ahead] look good."