What we know about the future of the Audi TT & Audi R8

Audi is increasing focus on electrifying its 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 last month, 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)

Two days before the Audi Annual Press Conference this year, Dr. Christian Dahlheim, Director Group Sales, Volkswagen Group, confirmed a PPE platform-based Audi SUV on his presentation. But unlike what many would later believe, he was not talking about the Q6 e-tron.

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

During the 2021 Virtual Deep Dive Electro Mobility conference call on March 16, Dr. Dahlheim explained about the EVs lined up for introduction from the group, and confirmed a new B-segment PPE platform-based Audi electric SUV. In his presentation slides, he referred to it as “Audi PPE-based B-SUV,” its launch set in 2023.

Obviously, I can and will not give you our complete product pipeline, but will give you the highlights here. Obviously, big highlight coming up in 2022 with the VW ID. Buzz being launched in Europe, and we’ll also launch that car later in the US. Certainly, an iconic model that will also change the perception of the brand Volkswagen, especially in the North American market. Followed that by the electric Macan, an absolutely key model and certainly a very profitable one. The PPE-based B-SUV, we can’t disclose the name yet, and then the Aero B which will be key for the brand Volkswagen both globally and in particular in Europe, because it will obviously be a very important fleet car if you want in the Passat-like segments. We close 2022 with a smaller CUV for the Chinese market.

Dr. Christian Dahlheim, Director Group Sales, Volkswagen Group, talking on the product pipeline

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, that claimed its working title as Audi eTTron, and in May 2020, it was AutoBild. In 2019, Bram Schot, the previous Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi, said during the general meeting that the TT would be replaced by an emotive electric car at the same price. Reports that appeared on Autoblog.nl & Motor1.com lead us to believe that the TT name would continue after its transition.

The PPE platform is performance-oriented, over-engineered for a mass-market B-SUV like a next-generation Audi Q2 (Audi Q2 e-tron). Moreover, the PPE platform would prove costly for a budget model at this stage. A logical conclusion is that the Audi B-SUV based on the PPE is either a completely new car or the Audi TT SUV to replace the two-door sports car. The 4.2 m (165 inch) Audi TT is a B-segment product, and naturally, its successor would go into the same segment.

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.

On the PPE Platform for the 2023 Audi TT

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

In October 2019, Audi revealed some key details about the PPE platform. It said that the PPE platform’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.

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 at. 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)

“A successor to the R8 won’t just be an R8 with an electric motor,” Wortmann told topgear.com earlier this month. “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.

Featured Image Source: Volkswagen Group