Audi’s technical boss has suggested that the future of the Audi TT could be saved if it goes electric
The Audi TT could have a future after all, as an electrified vehicle, the company’s technical boss has suggested.
Recent speculation has suggested that a successor to the existing generation of the sports car does not feature in Audi’s product plans. The company has been focusing on rationalising its line-up to make it less complex for WLTP fuel economy tests – and it is also regrouping its efforts towards electrification and China-specific models.
However, speaking at the Audi annual conference, Audi’s board member for technical development, Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, said that he hopes to persuade the company management to commission a new, electrified generation of the TT. “The TT is emotional to us; we’ve been having emotional discussions at the board level,” Rothenpieler said. “Some people say we should stop it but I say that it’s part of our DNA. We’re fighting for it. We want it. It’s our DNA and that’s what we’re fighting for. I’m going to convince my colleagues on how it can be electrified.
“The same applies to R8 as to TT,” Rothenpieler added. “We’re involved in discussing this, and these models and RS will need a change into e-mobility. That’s what we’re discussing. The e-tron GTis the first step, at the end of 2020; we have to keep our sporty DNA and I think we’re going to see in our discussions on what we’ll still need in terms of combustion engines and what we can transfer into e-mobility right away.”
Audi’s CEO, Bram Schot, was more guarded on the subject, however. “Audi will always have icon cars,” he said. “We are an emotional brand. The e-tron GT will be a new icon. But with the TT and R8, we’re also looking at volumes because profitability is something we need to focus on.”
Audi TT will morph into a four-coupe
The next generation of the Audi TT will be dramatically overhauled, with the iconic sports car transforming into a more practical and profitable four-door coupe, Auto Express can exclusively reveal. And that new four-door TT will be in showrooms in less than two years.
Shrinking demand for sports cars and small coupes has forced Audi into a rethink for the next model. Audi Chairman Bram Schot revealed that the business case for the TT in its current form is difficult to justify, citing the need for the brand to invest in electrification and autonomous technologies.
“I have something cooking that could replace a TT and could be a TT of the future – I think there is a future for an icon,” Schot told Auto Express. “But if that is to be the TT I am yet to decide. My heart bleeds when you ask that question but it comes back to what I said, we have to find a way to finance future development.”
The German firm first hinted at the idea of a four-door TT with the TT Sportback concept back at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. But four years down the line from that initial concept car Auto Express understands Audi has given the green light to the four-door TT that will serve as a direct replacement for the two-door model.
One Audi board member told us: “If you set falling demand against rising costs, it’s obvious Audi cannot sustain its present course in the medium term. Instead, there has been intensive consideration of the coupe and the convertible in the compact segment.”
The UK is a good barometer of how well the TT performs for Audi in the sales charts because it is the car’s third most successful market. Sales of the model peaked at 10,413 examples in the UK back in 2008 but they have failed to surpass that mark since. Our exclusive images preview the look of the car. The TT’s low-slung stance is still recognisable, only with an extended wheelbase and rear end added to accommodate the extra doors.
The overall proportions are expected to remain close to those of the original TT Sportback concept, meaning the body will be around 290mm longer than today’s coupe, while 60mm will be added to the car’s width and 120mm to the wheelbase. The four-door is expected to be based on an updated version of the MQB platform that underpins the current TT.
Whereas today’s model, which has recently been updated, is only available with petrol engines, Audi will offer an extensive line-up of conventional and electrified powertrains on the next-generation version.
First to arrive will be a range of mild-hybrid petrol engines using 48-volt technology. This is designed to fill brief gaps of turbo lag and help improve economy by as much as 10 per cent. A new generation of electrified diesel engines will also be offered.
Plug-in hybrid technology will play a key role as well, as will the option of a fully electric model. Both of these will be a part of Audi’s plan to have 20 electrified vehicles on sale by 2025. The German manufacturer predicts that around 35 per cent of its overall sales will be accounted for by such models in the same timeframe.