Volkswagen Group set to corner roadster market with three new models
It looks like roadster fans will have plenty to look forward to in the next few years after the Volkswagen Group confirmed that it will press ahead with plans to share a two-seater sports car platform between Audi, Porsche and VW.
While the project will see each of the three brands use the same basic rear-wheel-drive, mid-engined architecture, three very different cars will result from the project.
For Volkswagen and Porsche it will mean an entry-level roadster, but while the VW will be a Mazda MX-5 competitor already previewed by the 2009 BlueSport concept, the Porsche is believed to take its styling cues from the 1953 550 Spyder and will cost more than £30k.
Because Audi already has an entry-level model in this mould - the TT - the manufacturer was initially thought to be reluctant to use the platform, but sources have since confirmed to Autocar magazine that the oft-mentioned R4 sports car has received the green light.
The new model is unlikely to see the light of day until 2014 so as not to dilute any sales of the next generation of TT Roadster, but is expected to share the same design language as the next R8 and a starting price tag of around £25k.
As well as looking very different, the three cars will all use distinct four-cylinder engines to emphasise their individuality. The Porsche is likely to employ a new forced induction flat-four currently under development, the Volkswagen will almost certainly opt for economical, downsized engines and Audi's R4 has been lined up as a recipient for a newly-modified version of the current turbocharged 2.0-litre lump.