2019 Audi R6
Audi’s much-rumored "baby R8" is reportedly underway with Porsche underpinningsby Ciprian Florea, on
Mostly known as a maker of affordable family cars until the early 1990s, Audi made its entrance on the performance market in 1980 with Quattro. The legendary coupe was replaced by the 80-based S2 from 1991 until 1996. Audi didn’t offer another performance coupe until 2007, when the S5 was launched, but 1998 saw the release of the company’s first full-fledged sports car, the TT. The R8 supercar followed in 2006, giving Audi the proper weapon to compete against other high-end sports car manufacturers. With the R8 having been redesigned for 2015, word has it that Audi is now working on a new sports car to slot below the range-topping model and above the smaller TT.
Likely to break cover sometime in 2018, the new sports car will reportedly be called the R6 and will be developed under codename PO455. The news comes from German outlet Autobild, which also claims that the R6 will share underpinnings with the next-generation Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman. Both a coupe and a roadster are on the table, with the latter to sport an R6 Spyder badge. If these rumors prove to be accurate, the R6 will become the second Audi sports car to borrow its platform from other Volkswagen Group products. As you may already know, the R8 rides on the underpinnings Lamborghini developed for the Huracan.
The fact that Audi wants to build a "baby R8" isn’t exactly news. Rumors of a new sports car have been flying around for a quite a few years now, but the fact that the R6 could share underpinnings with the Porsche 718 gives this story more credibility. Unlike other brands from the Volkswagen Group, Porsche uses two unique platforms for the 911 and 718. By sharing the latter, Porsche will reduce development costs while Audi won’t have to spend a fortune to create one from scratch.
Also, the R6 wouldn’t be the first collaboration between Audi and Porsche. In the early 1990s, the two brands designed and built the RS2 Avant, a high-performance version of the Audi 80 wagon. Its 2.2-liter inline-five was heavily modified by Porsche, which also designed the braking and suspension systems.
Although Audi has yet to confirm the R6, we are confident that the German brand will soon launch its third sports car. With that in mind, we created a rendering of the "baby R8" to go with the speculative review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Audi R6.
2019 Audi R6
0-60 time:4 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:175 mph (Est.)
Design-wise, the R6 will remain true to Audi's current design language and will most likely combine elements from the R8 and TT.
Design-wise, the R6 will remain true to Audi’s current design language and will most likely combine elements from the R8 and TT. The front fascia will probably bear a closer resemblance to the larger R8, but the overall design will be toned down and less aggressive compared to Audi’s range-topping sports car. As seen in our rendering above, we think that the R6 will have a similar Singleframe grille, but the trademark element will feature horizontal slats instead of the R8’s honeycomb mesh. The side intakes will be narrower, while the headlamps will be thinner and feature different LED patterns.
The profile should also be a toned down version of the R8, with less pronounced character lines above the side skirts and below the waistline, and slightly smaller vents for engine cooling. The shape of the roof should also be less aggressive. Around back, we expect the R8 to keep the horizontal taillight layout, but the units should have a different shape and use different LED clusters. A sporty diffuser with integrated exhaust outlets is also on the table, but Audi will probably ditch the vents underneath the taillights and replace the rear wing with a spoiler.
Note: Interior of the Audi R8 shown here.
The R6’s interior should blend sporty and luxurious details. Our best guess is that the dashboard will probably be closer to the TT’s in terms of design, and feature a more conventional center stack than the R8. However, we expect Audi to come up with brand-new details and maybe ditch the round A/C vents of the TT for a design that will make the R6 stand out in the lineup.
The flat-bottom, three-spoke steering wheel will be carried over, as will the digital instrument cluster that displays various data and navigation info beside the speedometer and rev counter. Leather upholstery will probably be standard and hopefully Audi will offer more lively colors in addition to its monochrome combinations revolving around black and dark gray. Much like all high-performance Audis, the R6 should also come with various aluminum trim detailing and even carbon-fiber inserts in the range-topping model. Also look for contrast stitching, Alcantara, and even diamond quilted seating surfaces. Bolstered sports seats will be standard, of course.
It should also be packed with high-end technology, although some of the fancier features could be optional. Either way, the model will include Audi’s latest MMI with Navigation Plus and MMI Touch, Audi Connect module with Wi-Fi spot, the new Audi smartphone interface technology that displays selected apps from the cell phone directly on the screen, and a Bang & Olufsen premium audio system.
The drivetrain is arguably the biggest mystery surrounding the R6, but because it will borrow its platform from the Porsche 718, we know for a fact that it will have a mid-ship layout. Audi has multiple engine options for this new sports car, but don’t get your hopes up on seeing the R8’s 5.2-liter V-10 under the hood. Not only is the Lamborghini-sourced engine is too big for the Cayman/Boxster underpinnings, but Audi wouldn’t allow the R6 to best the R8’s performance.
Rumor has it that the Germans will use either a 3.0-liter V-6 or a 2.0-liter four-banger, both with forced induction.
Rumor has it that the Germans will use either a 3.0-liter V-6 or a 2.0-liter four-banger, both with forced induction. Why not the 4.0-liter V-8 in the RS6? Well, since Audi discontinued that option for the R8, it’s safe to assume that it will want the R6 to stay away from eight-cylinder power. But that’s not necessarily an issue, as the supercharged V-6 is plenty powerful at more than 300 horses in other models and Audi’s RS division could easily tune it to deliver more than 400 horsepower.
Audi could also use the redesigned 2.5-liter five-cylinder that pumps 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of twist in the brand-new TT-RS, but this could cause issue should Audi want to offer a more powerul R6 Plus version. As for the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, it would make sense only of Audi wants to offer a more affordable version of the R6. But to do that, the Germans would need a very light car in order for a four-banger to deliver noteworthy performance. We wouldn’t bet on seeing a four-cylinder R6 in showrooms, but it’s not completely out of the question.
The engine will most likely mate to a seven-speed, dual-clutch S-Tronic transmission with no option for a manual. Quattro all-wheel drive will be standard. Performance wise, it should be able to hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than four seconds and have a top speed of at least 175 mph.
It’s too early to talk about prices here, but it’s safe to assume that the R6 will fall between the TT and the R8. Chances are the new sports car will fetch more than the range-topping TT-RS, which will start from around $68,000 when it goes on sale in the United States, but it shouldn’t cost more than $80,000 in base trim. However, the top-of-the-line model loaded with all the optional goodies will most likely go into $100K territory. For reference, the R8 retails from $162,900 now that the V-8 model is no longer available.
The R6 will inevitably compete against the sports car that will provide its platform. A trend setter for the compact sports car market, the 718 Cayman will have received a redesign by the time the new Audi arrives in showrooms. This means that it will be faster, more powerful, and more dynamic that it is in 2016, when the second-generation model received its mid-cycle facelift. The current model just switched from naturally aspirated flat-six engine to turbocharged flat-four units. The base model uses a 2.0-liter powerplant with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, while the Cayman S benefits from a 2.5-liter mill with 350 horses and 309 pound-feet. The former needs as low as 4.5 seconds to hit 60 mph, while the latter achieves the benchmark in four ticks with the Sport Chrono Package. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and the quick-shifting PDK. Pricing is where the 718 Cayman gets a huge advantage, being priced from $53,900. Sure, the sticker will increase with the next-generation model, but it won’t surpass the $60K mark.
Find out more about the Porsche 718 Cayman here.
Although nothing more than speculation at this point, the R6 is a sports car that would make a lot of sense in the current market and is a vehicle Audi needs in order to expand. Sure, it’s common knowledge that Audi is more interested in bringing a new crossover to the market, which are known to bring bigger profits, rather than small vehicles, but the offer to use a Porsche chassis, is too good to refuse. Based on these rumors, the R6 has a lot of potential and with the right engine under the hood, it could be a lot more fun to drive than the R8. The more affordable sticker will also help with sales, although not many would be tempted to pay a $20K premium over a Porsche 718 Cayman.