Will be called the R6 and share underpinnings with the Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster

In the late 1990s, Audi entered a new era. The TT was launched in 1998, and the Ingolstadt-based company finally had a proper sports car in its lineup. Eight years later and Audi used the Lamborghini Gallardo’s platform to introduce the R8, its first-ever production supercar. A full decade has passed since the R8 arrived in dealerships and the German brand could benefit, yet again, from a sports car platform within the Volkswagen Group. This time around, Audi is reportedly working on an vehicle that will share underpinnings with the Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman.

That’s the word from German outlet Autobild, which claims that the new sports car is already underway and it is codenamed the PO455. The actual market name of the car will be R6, the report adds, and it will slot between the TT and the R8. Much like the R8, the R6 will use the platform from a sister brand, but in conjunction with an in-house built engine and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive. There’s no specific timetable for the R6, but Autobild says that Volkswagen approved the project to help spread the costs around for the next-gen 718 platform, which is likely to bow sometime in 2018.

A coupe and a roadster (R6 Spyder) are both in the cards and motivation is likely to come from four- or six-cylinder engines. The only certainty is that the drivetrain will be turbocharged.

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Why it matters

A baby R8 is not exactly news. A smaller Audi sports car has been in the rumor mill for about five years now. It even had different names, being rumored to arrive as the R4 and R5. If the report above is correct, it seems that Audi has settled for R6. Sure, being a rumor, we advise you take it with a grain of salt, but unlike other reports, some details in this one make a lot sense. It’s no secret that the Volkswagen Group isn’t doing all that great financially, so a new sports car doesn’t sound like the first vehicle the Germans would venture to develop.

A profitable, high-selling crossover would definitely be the healthier option, but the key here is Porsche. Unlike other brands in the group, Porsche uses two unique platforms. While the Cayman and Macan share underpinnings with other products, the 911 and the 718 ride on bespoke platforms. By giving Audi access to one of them, both companies — and ultimately the Volkswagen Group — will benefit financially. Also, besides getting to launch a brand-new car without having to spend a fortune developing a new platform, Audi will also gain access to arguably the best sports car underpinnings in this niche. The only mystery here is how will Volkswagen prevent the R6 and 718 from cannibalizing each other.

Source: Autobild

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