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Remember the Audi quattro Concept? With a 2.5 TFSI mounted longitudinally, an MLB-evo chassis of mainly aluminum, bodywork mainly of carbon fiber and looks to kill… how could you forget? When last we left this story of this much lusted-for car, quattro GmbH product boss Stephan Reil was telling us quite directly and frankly that the project had been axed. The topic came up over conversation at the Geneva Motor Show.
Why was it axed? Well, despite the fact that nearly everyone inside and outside Audi thought it may just be the perfect Audi, the car had some problems. We test drove the concept (HERE, HERE and HERE) and an early A5-bodied prototype of the concept (HERE and HERE) a while back and chatted with the people who’d built those prototypes. The main idea was to create a car that was as fast as an R8 GT but without much weight. The goal was to match the Sport quattro, a car with a 1985 build date that came sans hundreds of pounds of modern safety equipment. Such a feat wasn’t an impossibility, but the exotic materials needed to achieve the feat would have placed the price tag in R8 GT territory.
Fast forward to yesterday. The German car magazine Autobild, often reliable in these matters, is suggesting that the project is again active and that the car will be out by 2015. According to the magazine the project is known internally as Q35 and that it will slot in between the TT and the R8 in price. Production will be about 10,000 units per year. Autobild reasons that this would make it a direct competitor to the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG.
There are a lot of changes afoot at Audi’s development wing, with supervising board member Michael Dick out and Wolfgang Duerheimer in. This could account for a change in decision on the project. If Autobild’s details are correct, then this reveals a change in strategy for the car but also raises questions based on past thinking by Audi.
First, the original idea of a production version of the quattro Concept was presented to us as a very limited run car. Think about 300 units mirroring the original Sport quattro that was solely built to meet rallying homologation needs. This small number was more workable at the price project managers then expected was necessary to build such a light weight and thus exotic car.
Pricing the car between the TT and the R8 means a much lower price. The 10,000 unit production volume suggested by AutoBild is also another important difference. This new idea of a quattro Concept suggests a car that is much more readily attainable. That’ll be good for fans who’d really like to purchase one, but we wonder where this then leaves the RS 5 – Audi’s current offering that spans the difference between TT and R8 and directly competes with the M3 and the C63.
One thing we hope doesn’t change and won’t according to AutoBild is the engine. The magazine is still saying that the car would get a 380 hp version of the 2.5 TFSI turbocharged 5-cylinder. This was another challenge expressed to us by engineers, because this engine is both longer and taller than the V10. Fitting it longitudinally into a smaller chassis will prove no easy task.
Want to read more? Check out our own driving impressions of the quattro Concept via the links above and also check out the AutoBild report (in German) along with a rendered image of how the car might change HERE.