Audi is trying strengthen its reputation as the greatest sports car maker in the world with its intention of coming out with a new mid-engined model that will go on a head-on collision with the Mercedes-Benz SLK and the Porsche Boxster.
The mid-engined referred to is a high-performance two-seater cabriolet dubbed the R2 being developed with Volkswagen, Audi's sister company, which is thought to be in the last stage of a production variant of the BlueSport Concept shown at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this week.
The R2 receives a brand new chassis and suspension borrowed froom the MkV VW Golf. Also a possibility is a 4-wheel-drive version employing the development of the Haldex system of the Golf R32.
In addition to this, there are speculations that a hybrid with four wheels powered by electrical motors is intended to help Audi cut on CO2 emissions in its range. The powerplant lineup is sure to include a mixture of 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and 2.5-liter 5-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engines.
Also under consideration are diesel engines, but will not be possibly offered at the opening. A choice between a 6-speed manual and 7-ratio R tronic semi-auto gearboxes will be offered to all the models. Figures for performance should be remarkable: 200bhp to 380bhp, maximum speed is limited to 155mph, with sprint from 0-60mph expected to be less than 6.0 seconds.
Audi's successful design features will continue in the R2 including sculpted taillights mimicking the Q of its popular Qauttro badge like those found on the R8.
Sitting above Audi's badge is a third rear brake light, and the hood will be free from any aero additions, but to increase stability at speed, there is an underbody air diffuser. In the interior, the cabin is finished in high-quality material and will possibly borrow a lot of equipment from the BlueSport, including a large touch screen cabin control arrangement and lightweight sport seats.
Additionally, a heating system is inbuilt into the backs of the seats. The R2 receives a couple of remarkable wide-mouthed side vents, intended to channel cold air into the engine hinting on the vehicle's mid-engined configuration. Pricing for the car begins at 30,000 Pounds at its launching in 2012.