What we know about the future of the Audi TT & Audi R8 [Update]

Audi is increasing focus on electrifying volume cars, and in the next phase, several unconventional models developed by Artemis GmbH 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)
Audi TT SUV (Audi TT offroad concept) front three quarters
At the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, a brawny Audi TT offroad concept gave the first hints of an Audi TT SUV. Image Source: Audi

Time and again, European media outlets have stated that the successor to the Audi TT is an SUV; in October 2019, it was Auto Express, which claimed its working title as Audi eTTron, and in May 2020, it was AutoBild. In 2019, during the general meeting, 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.

Reports that appeared on Autoblog.nl & Motor1.com have led us to believe that the TT name would continue after its transition. However, Audi has never spoken about a confirmed plan to continue offering a TT past the third generation, neither as a standard two-door small sports car nor as a new type of four-door sports crossover coupe.

Audi TT offroad concept
The 2014 Audi TT offroad concept envisioned a compact SUV in the TT lineup with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Image Source: Audi

It was Audi’s intention for years to add a new dimension to the TT nameplate. Readers would recall the Audi TT offroad concept study presented in 2014. It imagined a new model in a future TT family, that combines the sportiness of a coupe and the utility of a compact SUV.

The production Audi TT SUV could look quite different from the Audi TT offroad concept. Audi will present the brand’s future design direction with a trio of Audi Sphere concept models, namely Audi Sky Sphere, Audi Grand Sphere, and the Audi Urban Sphere in the next year that should complete the picture.

On the PPE Platform for the Audi TT successor

Porsche and Audi are co-developing the PPE platform for their performance-oriented and upper-class pure electric vehicles. “It (PPE) will be the basis for multiple Audi model families with all-electric drive covering the high-volume B through D segments of the market,” Audi said in September 2018.

Video Source: youtube.com/Audi Japan

Audi has revealed some key details about the PPE platform. The PPE’s technology package is generally similar to that of the MEB platform, but it allows great capabilities in terms of output and performance. As standard, PPE platform models would have one motor in the rear. Optionally, customers will be able to specify them in all-wheel drive with a second motor at the front axle, either a PSM or an ASM. Like in the J1 platform models, the state of charge will be 800 volts and it will be possible to rapid-charge at 350 kW.

Audi Hungaria makes the Audi TT models since 1998, and now, it is preparing for the brand’s transition to EVs. A double-digit EUR million investment in the next two years will prepare technical development for the EV era, it said in July. The investment will go into the commissioning of an electric test bench to develop and improve electric engines and electric drives and the existing testing infrastructure.

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 talked about this model as well at the company’s annual press conference.

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)
Next-gen Audi R8 e-tron rendering
Audi could launch a radically different R8 e-tron successor. Pictured is a rendering by SRK Designs (via YouTube)

“A successor to the R8 won’t just be an R8 with an electric motor,” Wortmann told topgear.com earlier in April 2021. “It needs to be an R8 but different,” she added. The sales and marketing boss hinted at a radically different TT successor as well, saying that “TT is authentic and highly emotional, but customers have changed, and the world has gone away from roadsters.

Talking about 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.” On June 18, 2021, auto motor und sport reported that a new all-electric R8 is in the pipeline and suggested that it will have a regular design.

Audi Sky Sphere Concept

The Audi Sky Sphere, which looks like a two-door coupe concept, could form the inspiration for the design elements of the next-gen Audi R8.

Audi Sky Sphere teaser
The Audi Sky Sphere could inspire many of the design elements of the next-gen R8. Image Source: LinkedIn/Audi

Teasing the Audi Sky Sphere concept on July 2, 2021, Henrik Wenders, Senior Vice President, Audi, said that it is “a unique sphere where the sky is just the limit.” The new Audi concept car is “a driver’s car, and autonomous at the same time,” Wenders added.

No additional information on the Sky Sphere is available, but we’ll learn more about the concept in August 2021, during its unveiling at the Monterey Car Week in California.

Featured Image Source: Audi