The Porsche, VW and Audi mÃ©nage ï¿½ trois looks set to result in a complete range of Audi â€˜Râ€™ cars. Word is that Porsche and Audi have agreed to jointly develop an entry level performance coupe and roadster which will be the basis for the next Boxster/Cayman as well as an all new Audi R4.
Apparently, Audiâ€™s plan is to field a full range of â€˜Râ€™ cars starting with the entry level R4 mid-engined two-seater. An R6 will sit a rung above the R4 and somewhere between the Porsche Boxter and 911 in performance and price. Add to this the current 4.2-litre V8 R8 with which we are all familiar. The R8 will also be fitted with the Audi/Lamborghini V10 which we assumed would make it an R10 but that badge may be reserved for a range topping diesel powered supercar based on the Audi Le Mans winning racers.
In a deal designed to benefit both car makers, the co-operative venture between Audi and Porsche will see Porsche gain access to Audiâ€™s aluminium space-frame chassis technology, lightweight AWD systems, DSG transmissions and advanced diesel engines. Audi on the other hand will benefit from Porsches renowned engineering base and ability to build high quality, high profit performance cars. On a per unit basis, Porsche is the worldâ€™s most profitable car manufacturer.
If the R4 does become a reality it will still maintain a healthy dose of difference over the next generation Boxter/Cayman despite their development being a shared exercise. The Porsche duo are likely to remain rear wheel drive and boxer six powered while the Audi would be expected to come to market with AWD and the choice of either a 225Kw turbo-charged four-cylinder (think TT Clubsport concept) or a 260Kw 2.5-litre turbo-charged five-cylinder.
Both the Audi R4 and Porsche Cayman/Boxter would share a number of useful technologies such as the next generation DSG transmissions and the latest in suspension technologies such as Audiâ€™s Magnaride and Porscheâ€™s PDC. Externally the cars will maintain their own company DNA and look quite different.
If it all plays out well behind the scenes and Porsche and Audi can play well together then we could expect to see the new Audi R4 and next gen Boxter/Cayman appear sometime between 2010 and 2012 with the R4 likely to be the first to make an appearance.
Sources : Car Magazine
Image : AutoBild via GermanCarBlog