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Audi To Build R4 Sports Car

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On: Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 9:20AM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi To Build R4 Sports Car

After a number of on again/off again rumors, the Audi R4 is on again. And it looks like this time it's for good. Autocar reports this week that Audi has given the official go-ahead to the mid-engined, two-seat roadster, which will be a smaller, more affordable complement to the R8 supercar.

While its big brother shares underpinnings with the Lamborghini Gallardo, the R4 will look to VW's other performance brand in borrowing front-end elements from the 911-derived Porsche Boxster. While its front will be shared, its rear will be "radically different."

The decision to share hardware with Porsche appears to have been an operative factor in the R4's go-ahead. Audi originally considered borrowing from the Volkswagen Golf R or designing an aluminum spaceframe specifically for the model, but eventually went in the direction of a Porsche partnership, which should prove more cost effective than developing a new platform.

Early indications are that the R4 will get a variety of engine options, each of which will be mounted transversely behind the seats. The range-topper is rumored to be a 350-hp version of the 2.5-liter turbo five that is currently used in the RS3 and TT RS. A reworked version of Audi's 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder putting out somewhere between 200 and 300 horses is also rumored, as is a possible turbodiesel option. Transmissions should include a six-speed manual and seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch.

On top of that bevy of engine options, Audi will design a body inspired by the R8 and the e-tron Spyder concept from last year's Paris Motor Show. The latter may also influence a potential electric version, though that appears to be quite low-priority at the moment.

Production should come in several years with a 2014/15 turnaround being cited.

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