Audi made it clear last March that the baby R8 was dead. Despite numerous rumors that Audi would get its own version of the upcoming Porsche Boxster/Cayman replacement, the decision was made to nix plans to create the mid-engine Audi R4 over fears that it would cannibalize sales from its Porsche-badged brethren. An Audi spokesperson went so far as to say that, "It was never in our product planning." Well, AutoExpress is reporting that tales of the R4's demise have been a bit premature.
Apparently the new mid-engined R4 is a go. It will occupy a slot in the Audi lineup above the TT and below the R8, with prices starting around £35,000. Like the R8 it will be a two-seater only, available as either a coupe or roadster. AutoExpress even has an image of the car showing a strong familial resemblance to the big-brother R8. To distinguish it from its Porsche siblings, the Audi is said to be getting Quattro AWD and aluminum construction. Powerplants should include the full range of TFSI engines, from the 2.0L turbo, all the way up to the new supercharged and turbocharged 335-hp 2.5L five-cylinder from the TT RS. A high-performance diesel and a gas V6 are also said to be in the mix. Expect a traditional six-speed manual as standard and a seven-speed, S-tronic twin-clutch, semi-automatic as an option.
The R4 won't appear until 2011 at the earliest, allowing Porsche time to launch the Boxster/Cayman first. If that's not enough good news for Audi fans, AE is also reporting that the company is planning an R6 to go head-to-head with the Jag E-Type replacement as well as the Porsche 911. The R10 has also been green-lit, giving Audi a full range of R-badged sports cars for just about any budget. However, AE failed to mention anything about the supposed R3 and its Volkswagen counterpart.