Over the weekend some images surfaced that appear to be design drawings of the rumored Audi R4 e-tron Concept Car expected to debut Paris. We're not precisely sure of the source of the images posted by R5T in our Audi Lounge forum but the most credible article online including the pics seems to be that of German car magazine Autobild.



The Autobild story includes a believable photoshop by talented render artist (and Audi enthusiast) Larson. Details from the story are this...

The plug-in hybrid carries forward two electric motors, creating a front-wheel drive just about 50 km all-electric. Then uses the three-liter V6 TDI in a mid-engine position and driving the rear wheels via DSG. This means that for the hybrids with a range to which you want heranreichen no conventional diesel. And at the same time a temperament which each super athletes could make all the glory.




So What Do We Think?
These design drawings certainly look legitimate. The style is consistent with Audi factory drawings and the design appears to be a speedster evolution of the Detroit e-tron coupe and very similar to the speedsterification of the TT Clubsport speedster design study shown in Worthersee in 2007. We suspect there will be some sort of concept car and that it will likely look like this but we still cannot verify the R4 e-tron name.

There are other inconsistencies with this story that, while not technically impossible since we're in the unlimited world of concept cars, are still puzzling.

First, the Autobild story says the car will be a plug-in hybrid. That's all well and good but then use of the e-tron name is puzzling. Thus far, Audi has called hybrid concepts 'hybrid' and electric-only concepts 'e-tron'. We doubt they'd change that strategy so if the Autobild theory on drivetrain is correct then we're guessing this car will be called R4 hybrid.

The other puzzling point is mention of the 3.0 TDI. One might assume this is Audi's current 3.0 TDI V6 but all assumptions about this smaller sportscar design shown in Detroit and likely Paris is that it uses the same under-evaluation mid-engine component set as the Volkswagen Bluesport TDI... something we've come to call MQB Mid as it uses many components from the Volkswagen Group's upcoming front engine MQB scalable transverse chassis architecture. The only problem here is that the Audi V engines such as the 3.0 TDI don't apply to front engine transverse applications such as TT and A3 and we're not sure that changes at all in the case of mid engine placement.

Even if we're right on the incompatibility though we're not counting this story as impossible. Why? Several months ago the much-respected and often-correct automotive journalist Georg Kacher published a piece about the upcoming Volkswagen Passat and the Volkswagen Group's push to make this model much more significant in the affordable B-segment sedan category. Part of that push Kacher then reported was a new range of narrow angle VR engines designed in similar fashion to previous narrow angle V6 motors sold for example in the TT 3.2 and the A3 3.2. This new 'VR6' would also get turbocharged gas and (for the first time) turbocharged diesel variants according to Kacher.

It should be noted that the all-new Volkswagen Passat is also expected to be revealed at Paris in two weeks on the same day as this Audi concept. If nothing else, the timing would be right for the Volkswagen Group to show multiple applications of this new engine should Kacher's rumors prove true.

That's all we know for now, but be sure to check out the Autobild story with Larson rendering and R5T forum post links below.

Full Story - Autobild (German)

Full Story - Autobild (English via Google Translation)

Full Story - Audi Lounge post by R5T