Mike Stevens | Oct 28, 2011

Reports out of Europe suggest that the e-tron Detroit-inspired "R4" coupe is back on the table, after a potential conflict with the TT was blamed for the project being canned earlier in the year.

According to Britain's Auto Express magazine, Audi is closer than ever to approving development of the so-called R4, which would likely be positioned between the TT range and the brand's R8 hero car.

Don't expect to see it on the road any time soon, however: “if the go-ahead was given today, it would take around three years to put into production,” an unnamed source at Audi was reportedly quoted by Auto Express.

In concept form, the e-tron Detroit Concept is powered by an all-electric drivetrain. While that arrangement hasn't been ruled out (simply because nothing has been ruled in), the report claims that the R4 will utilise a hybrid system made up of a small motor and Audi's 2.5 litre five-cylinder engine.

The brand's quattro all-wheel-drive system could also feature, although it is expected that the hybrid system will see the electric motor powering the rear wheels while the petrol engine takes care of the front wheels.

Unclear however is what platform the new performance car would use. A new mid-engined platform has been suggested (based on the VW BlueSport concept), along with a smaller version of the R8's aluminium spaceframe.

For now, we'd suggest you not hold your breath.

Above: what we reckon the R4 could look like.
Above: what we reckon the R4 could look like.

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