More bad news for proponents of radical growth of Audi's sports car lineup - the proposed "little brother to the Audi R8" has been cancelled according to a highly placed source at Audi AG. Apparently when company directors looked into the feasibility it was determined that there just wasn't enough room for a car to be placed between the top TT RS and the base R8.
In most markets, you can buy two TT RS for the price of an R8 and when this was pointed out to our source, the response was more a question of performance. While the price differential between the TT RS and the R8 is quite wide, the performance difference between the two cars is quite small.
When our source was asked about competition with Porsche being part of the reasoning the question was met with a somewhat blank response. If Porsche was a factor, this wasn't going to be confirmed. Still you have to wonder why this choice has been made.
Over the last few years, Audi has explored the idea of a sub-R8 sportscar in several guises. Internal mentions of "R4" and "R5" have been made with regularity and Audi board member Michael Dick told us at the launch of the Detroit e-tron coupe on which the above render was based that "The R8 could use a little brother." Unfortunately, that sentiment seems to have changed.
Part of this could be from a question of architecture. The upcoming all-new R8 (that replace the R8 facelift due this fall) is set to be based on a new modular sports car architecture called MSS. Given the scalability of MSS, it may have been a one time candidate for the R5 though more recent rumors from reliable press sources like Georg Kacher suggest MSS may be a once and done generation after which the R8 and its platform sister the Lamborghini Gallardo migrate to another confirmed modular MSB platform that is expected to spawn mid-engine and rear engine variants dubbed MSB-M and MSB-P.
Another scenario investigated was use of the proposed transverse mid-engine "platform" that would have been spawned from the new MQB architecture. This setup has only been showed to the public once by Volkswagen in the form of the Bluesport TDI concept car though products based on it were explored for both Porsche and Audi. At Porsche a modern-day 356 to slot in under the Boxster was the idea whereas at Audi an R4 powered by the 2.0 TFSI or the 2.5 TFSI had been the idea.
If our source is correct then both of these proposed scenarios are now off the table. Interestingly, a very highly placed source at Volkswagen AG told our sister website VWvortex that the Bluesport may be more in stasis than dead in the water. What this could mean for a resurrected Audi R4 or the like remains to be seen.