Kacher's German Intel Via Autobild: R5, R5 Sportback, A9 and More
by, 07-06-2011 at 06:27 PM (11703 Views)
We've spoken enough good about Georg Kacher and his authority on far-reaching intel to perhaps look like a bunch of fanboys of the German/Anglo motor journalist. Fact is, Kacher's got contacts at the highest levels in the board of Audi and other German manufacturers so he usually knows what's what. And even though it may be so far out that it's subject to change, his always gives a good indication of what the Audi board are thinking. It is under this context that we take anything he writes, including a German language intel report about Audi's product development struggle with Porsche within the Volkswagen Group and updates about the R5 sub-R8 sportscar and the A9 coupe.
Michael Dick told us back at the launch of the Detroit e-tron concept that "The R8 needs a baby brother". Such a car has been called many things, most commonly "R4" but the "R5" is more accurately the name we expect to see if its on-again-off-again finally ends up to simly "on".
According to Kacher, there's still a chance for R5. With developmental control of sportscars, an internal program known as "550" has proceeded at Stuttgart, stemming from the former project known as 'Bluesport' and loosely based on the concept car by the same name.
Where we remain confused is engine configuration. Bluesport had a transverse engine and so too would the Detroit e-tron coupe had it ever been built according to our sources, but the e-tron Spyder that popped up again in Le Mans boasted a longitudinal V6 engine just like the R8.
According to Kacher, this 550 program wiill give birth to an entry-level "Porsche 356" by 2014 and also a VW version. Mr. Kacher also says Audi had been on the fence and almost pulled out, but that the R5 is again gaining traction internally, believed possible to fit alongside the TT in the lineup and even a shooting brake style 'Sportback' might happen. If so, it'd differ from its VW and Porsche 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. Assumedly, that'd put it above the TT as well.
Another point of contention inside the group is large cars. As reported before in these pages, Audi is moving toward its next-generation of multi-material space frames that will evolve the current longitudinal architecture dubbed MLB-evo. At the same time, Porsche is readying its own mid-front engine rear-wheel drive platform dubbed MSB that is intended for other cars including the next-generation Panamera, a smaller Panamera siblingknown currently as Pajun, and also the entire Bentley range, VW Phaeton and any front-engine Lamborghini models such as the Estoque 4-door coupe concept shown several years ago.
At first it was believed that the A8 and an upcoming A9 coupe (rendered above) would also migrate to MSB (from MLB in the case of the A8) in order to achieve higher volume for the new architecture, but according to Kacher this may have been flipped back to Ingolstadt for the MSB-evo use on request of executives in Ingolstadt.
Turns out the Gallardo successor (2013) and R8 successor (2015) based on the MSS platform revealed to us a while back by Michael Dick are still largely Audi developed. So says the report, the next all-new A8 (2016) and A9 (2017) would remain under Audi's developmental control.
As a footnote, Autobild also mentions the A9 could turn up as a concept at Frankfurt. That would be a pleasant surprise.
Full Story - German
Full Story - English with Google Translation