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Audi could build a mid-engined car on the next Porsche Boxster's platform

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Audi could fill the deep chasm that separates the compact TT and the Lamborghini-derived R8 with a mid-engined model, a new report finds.

Tentatively called R6, the sports car will be offered both as a coupe and as a convertible. It will share its basic platform with the next-generation of the Boxster and the Cayman, but it won’t look anything like its Porsche-badged siblings. Instead, it will receive a sharp, muscular-looking design that will borrow styling cues from the bigger, V10-powered R8.

Audi will further differentiate the R6 from the Boxster/Cayman by replacing Porsche’s newly introduced turbo four engines with a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder mill tuned by Quattro, the company’s go-fast division. Entry-level variants will get about 280 horsepower, mid-range models will up the ante with 340 ponies, and the range-topping version will use a 400-horsepower evolution of the engine. Additionally, the R6 will come standard with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system, while the Boxster/Cayman will remain rear-wheel drive in the foreseeable future.

German magazine Auto Bild reports that sharing the Boxster platform with Audi will allow Porsche to leverage the benefits of economies of scale. The sports car segment is shrinking at an alarming rate, so it’s getting increasingly difficult for companies to make money by selling coupes and convertibles. On the other hand, a mid-engined model positioned between the TT and the R8 would help Audi successfully launch its sport-focused Audi sub-brand.

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The magazine stresses that the project hasn’t been given the proverbial green light for production yet. If it’s approved, the Audi R6 will likely be previewed by a thinly veiled concept in the next year or so, and it won’t arrive in showrooms until 2018 at the earliest. A lot can happen until then, so we’re taking this report with a grain of salt.