Volkswagen’s BlueSport concept left zero questions on whether or not it was going to go into production. In fact, Volkswagen announced that it would be available in three different production versions: one for Audi, one for Porsche, and one for Volkswagen, all of them offering different levels of luxury and performance.
Audi’s version will be placed somewhere in the middle, considering both price and performance, and will be aimed at those customers who want more than the TT, but can’t afford an R8. With an exterior design inspired by the recently launched E-tron concept, Audi’s model was rumored to be called the R4. However, new reports suggest that the future sports car will actually be called the R5, taking under consideration the fact that it will use a five-cylinder engine, and not the four pot reserved for the TT.
Audi will offer both coupe and roadster versions, with the roadster being a production version of the E-tron Concept. Expect an official debut sometime in 2014.
UPDATE 05/05/2011: We were all eager to see the future Audi R5, or R4 as it was also rumored to be called, but the German magazine, Auto Motor Und Sport, reports that Audi has dropped plans to build the sports car. The reasoning behind this is that Audi was afraid that it would affect sales for models like the Audi TT and Porsche Cayman. Rumors also state that building the car might have had a very high price and it would have never been a profitable model. Bummer, that design and engine choice would have been awesome.
UPDATE 07/07/2011: New details about the future Audi R5 sports car suggest that the car will also be offered in shooting brake style ’Sportback’ . The new R5 will differ from its Porsche and Volkswagen siblings "by boasting all-wheel drive and the Audi 5-cylinder turbo, which’d position it above the VW and even above the Porsche in pricing." (Fortitude)
Exterior and Interior
When launched, the Audi R5 will offer no surprises. We will basically see the E-tron concept adjusted for street use combined with design elements from models like the Audi R8. Expect Audi’s famous front grille with the four circles in the middle, headlamps with LED light, vertical air scoops on the sides, wide side sills, and different aluminum insertions.
For the interior Audi will offer the highest quality materials, leather sports seats, aluminum pedals, and more sports details.
The future Audi R5 is known internally as the 9X1 and will share Volkswagen’s new ’MiMo’ (Mittelmotor) architecture with the other two BlueSport versions. Translated, this means the future sports car will feature a mid-engine configuration.
So, while the E-tron concept was powered by two electric motors, the production version will use a conventional engine. With the E-tron, Audi only wanted to show that they could develop electric cars, not that they wanted to. The only E-tron anyone will be seeing so far will be the R8 E-tron which will go into production next year.
We expect to see the same 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder engine from the TTRS, with output in the 350 HP area. We expect to see a 0 to 60 mph sprint time in around 4.5 seconds, while top speed will be limited to 155 mph (like any other German model).
The R5’s main competitors will be the other two BlueSport models set to be released by Audi and Porsche. That makes no sense, but that’s a strategy the Volkswagen Group always applied. Take the Q7-Cayenne-Touareg off-roader trio, for example.
Previous rumors suggest that the R5 will also compete with the future Toyota FT-86. But Toyota wants to keep its model in the $20k area, so this will not happen. However, on the European market, the R5 will also compete with models like the Lotus Exige.
When Can I Buy One?
The Audi R5 will make its world debut in 2014, and customers will receive their first orders in 2015. Being placed between the TT and the R8, we expect to pay somewhere at $50k for the new R5.