Tony O'Kane | Mar 23, 2009

When Volkswagen debuted its handsome Concept Bluesport at the recent Detroit Auto Show, speculation predictably turned to how long it would take Audi to capitalise on the car's all-new mid-engined architecture.

Now, according to British rumour-mongers Auto Express, it appears we might not have to wait very long at all for the next arse-engined Audi.

AE says the top brass at Ingolstadt are keen to see a budget-priced Boxster-fighter wearing Audi's four rings, and that such a car is currently being developed in parallel with the production version of the VW Bluesport.

Provisionally named the R2, the mid-engined Audi will forgo the diesel powerplants favoured by its VW counterpart. Instead, power will likely come from a turbocharged 2.0 litre four or a 2.5 litre five cylinder.

Power outputs will range from 150kW (200hp) in the base model to 283kW (380hp) in the range-topper.

Audi R4 rendering

A six-speed manual or a seven-cog R tronic twin-clutch auto are tipped to be the gearboxes on offer, while a four-wheel-drive system pinched from the Mk V Golf R32 may also be bolted to the R2's underside.

Suspension is rumoured to be based upon that of the Mk V Golf - not a bad thing, in our opinion.

Given the R2 will go head-to-head with the likes of Porsche's Boxster and Mercedes' SLK, performance will be suitably brisk. Zero-to-100km/h sprints are expected to be dispatched in under six seconds, while top speed will be electronically limited to 250km/h (155mph).

Styling is still a mystery, but expect the R2 to share the same external dimensions and overall proportions of its Bluesport-badged cousin.

Audi R4 rendering

We've no idea what Audi's design team has in store for the R2, but if it winds up looking anything like Autocar Czech's renderings (pictured), then we've no doubt it'll sell like hotcakes.

Keep in mind that these are just rumours for now. We're still waiting on official confirmation, but considering Audi plans on adding 12 new models to its lineup over the next seven years and that parent company VW has already developed the platform for it, we'd be amazed if the R2 didn't see the light of day.

Watch this space.

[Auto Express]

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