Mike Stevens | Oct 11, 2010

Rumours of a new entry-level mid-engined Audi sports car have been circulating for nearly a year now.

Recent reports out of Europe suggest the e-tron Detroit Concept or this month's e-Tron Spyder Concept could form the basis for the rumoured Audi R4.

While Audi has yet to offer any official word on the R4's existence, a new sports-oriented range could be on the cards, according to an interview in German magazine Auto Motor und Sport with the carmaker's development chief Michael Dick.

"Besides the Audi TT and R8, there is definitely still room for another sports car series," Dick reportedly told the magazine.

According to Dick, the company's latest concepts offer some idea of what a new Audi sports car could look like. With the production-friendly lines of just about all of the e-tron models, it's not difficult to imagine any of them as a new Audi performance model.

Our renderings (below and in gallery), drawing inspiration from the e-Tron Detroit concept, offers one look at how the 'R4' might appear when - or if - it enters production.

Earlier this year, US website Inside Line reported that Audi insiders pulled aside at the Detroit Auto Show had confirmed that not only is the R4 in development, but that the Detroit showcar was developed primarily to determine its styling potential.

Although its name suggests a connection to the R8 supercar, it is believed that the R4 will be powered by either Volkswagen's 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine or the 2.5 litre five-cylinder driving the new TT RS.

A diesel version is also rumoured, drawing power from the same 2.0 litre TDI engine used in the TT and the recently-launched Golf GTD.

In addition to the conventionally-powered models, the R4 is expected to be offered in e-tron form, likely deriving power from the same system as the showcar, which sees a pair of electric motors driving the rear wheels.

If Audi utilises Volkswagen's BlueSport platform, the R4 would likely slot into the Audi line-up below the TT range.

Still, with its debut not expected until around 2013, it remains to be seen just how reliable this information is. For now, gather ye grains of salt.

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