Audi is increasing focus on electrifying volume cars, and in the next phase, several unconventional models are to join this lineup. But amidst the accelerated carbon-neutralization efforts, the direction of current niche models like the Audi TT and Audi R8 is not straightforward.
To remain relevant to Audi’s carbon-neutral future, the TT and RS will need to become battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Keeping these products profitable may call for radical changes to their body styles as well, as discussed in this story.
Next-gen Audi TT/Audi TT successor
Talking about the Audi TT successor at the company’s annual press conference in March 2021, Oliver Hoffmann, BoM member responsible for Technical Development, Audi, suggested that we may see a new type of concept as its preview in the coming months. He said:
The Audi TT is really a very special model for the Audi brand, and we are very happy about the fact that it’s so popular with customers. The Audi TT has a very high share in its segment, however, in a shrinking segment. At the moment, we are closely analyzing what this means for a TT successor, but we are working to create a really emotional sports car successor concept, and I will be happy at one of the next of these conferences to tell you a bit more about it.Oliver Hoffmann, BoM member responsible for Technical Development, Audi (Audi Annual Press Conference 2021)
At the same event, Hildegard Wortmann, BoM member responsible for Sales and Marketing, Audi, indicated that the company will continue selling the current-gen TT for some more time. She said:
One has to clearly say that the Audi TT is our sporty design icon and naturally it’s been an important model that supports our image and it will stay so for the next few years. We have so many plans for the product upgrade with a new equipment line, competition plan, we have special model Bronze selection with Audi Sport GmbH. So with all of this, we will make sure that for quite a while it will remain really attractive.Hildegard Wortmann, BoM member responsible for Sales and Marketing, Audi (Audi Annual Press Conference 2021)
During the company’s annual general meeting in 2019, Bram Schot, the previous Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi, said that the company would replace the TT with an emotive electric car at the same price. Later, in an interview in October 2020, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann told auto motor und sport that the TT is unlikely to have a direct successor.
Audi has presented the brand’s future design direction with a trio of Audi Sphere concept models last year, namely Audi skysphere, Audi grandsphere, and the Audi urbansphere (debuting this year).
Hoffmann has told Auto Express (in the 2021 Christmas double issue edition) that there’s no plan to launch a new-generation TT as an electric compact sports car. The dwindling sales of two-door vehicles and smaller cars is partly responsible for the decision. The next-gen TT has to be an emotional car that fascinates and surprises customers, and a direct replacement “is not the answer,” he said. A battery-powered TT won’t be easy to handle, the R&D boss explained.
According to the British publication’s sources, the indirect replacement for the TT will be a larger car, with four-door practicality and cloaked by a more aggressive roofline than the A3 or A4. AutoExpress sounds confident that a compact, four-door grand tourer could take the place of the TT in the Audi lineup. It speculates that the car could use modules of the MEB and PPE platforms.
Video Source: youtube.com/Audi Japan
Next-gen Audi R8/Audi R8 successor
As for the succession plan for the R8 successor, Audi would be taking its time. It would also need reinvention, and that’s probably what the Audi AI:RACE (Audi PB18 e-tron) concept with a shooting brake-style presented at Pebble Beach in 2018 signaled. Hoffmann commented about this model as well at the company’s annual press conference in March 2021.
The R8 is the sports icon in our product portfolio. It’s extremely important for our image, for the sporty positioning of the brand, and it still has a great appeal and fascination. Similar to the TT, as I said before, we are discussing different concepts for potential successor to the R8. At the moment, no definite decision has been taken yet, but to us, it’s clear that in future we have to rethink the concept of a sports car and we are really focusing on it now.Oliver Hoffmann, BoM member responsible for Technical Development, Audi (Audi Annual Press Conference 2021)
“A successor to the R8 won’t just be an R8 with an electric motor,” Wortmann told topgear.com in April 2021. “It needs to be an R8 but different,” she added.
Linda Kurz, Head of Product Marketing, Audi Sport, has also talked about a potential R8 successor. On December 8, 2021, speaking to CNET Roadshow, Kurz said that “transforming the R segment” will be Audi Sport’s “next challenge.” Further, she said that this segment “is going to be fully electric.” Like Wortmann, Kurz indicated that the next performance flagship of Audi, will have to be electric. Audi would continue in the R segment, be it with an R8 or a new model. In other words, there will be something for buyers to choose above the RS e-tron GT.
Discussing on the future of the R8 in the auto motor und sport interview, Duesmann said that “it will certainly not stay the way the car is currently designed.”
Featured Image Source: Audi