It's official, the Audi TT is to be replaced with an electric sports car.
As followers of SXdrv, you may know that we're fans of the Audi TT, in fact, we have a couple of the original ones in our garage. So, news of the demise of the little coupe is a bitter pill to swallow.
To rub salt in the wounds of our colleague who owns these Mk1 TT's, the replacement is going to be all-electric, and he's not on board with electrification. For the rest of us who have come to terms with the evolution of vehicles from classic gas-guzzlers into super-fast golf carts, we were eager to find out more.
Speaking at Audi's annual general meeting, chairman Bram Schot confirmed we can expect an all-electric sports car "in a few years" while painting a picture of the brands latest targets. Schot said Audi wants electricity to power 40 per cent of all units by 2025, and reach CO2 neutrality company-wide by 2050.
“For two decades, we have had this young, emotive car in our product range: as a coupé and as a roadster. In a few years we will replace the TT with a new emotive model in the same price range with an electric car," Schot explained. And then dropped another bomb.
“Reality shows that we as a company have been involved in too many projects. There will be many things in the future that we no longer do. Or things that we do less. As I said, focusing also means leaving out, for example, the R8 sports car. Do we need a successor with a combustion engine? Does this fit in with our vision? The discussion will give us an answer to that."
It's difficult to interpret whether the R8 is also on the chopping block, or if it's just its fossil-fuelled V10 powerplant that will be binned for electric power.
There is a spark of hope, however. The new board member for Audi's technical development, Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, told Auto Express, “At Audi, we need cars like the two-door TT, it is in the DNA of our brand. I’m really fighting for this car and I’ll try to convince my colleagues that we have to do it.
“But there is a second point, a second story. We have to move all of those cars, like the TT, into an electrified future. The current status with this car and its platform are that it is prepared only until EU7 (even tougher emissions regulations expected around 2021).
“We have started a discussion now about what’s happening after that point. But, there’s also another debate, which I actually believe is significantly more important, on how to have cars like the TT with electric technology. We need answers to both of these issues.”
Rothenpieler went on to explain their thought process, "For cars like the TT, the battery in the floor is a problem. Normally in a pure-electric car, you have a wheel at each corner and the battery pack in the centre, and the pack is 12 or 13 centimetres tall. But this makes the base of the seating point higher.
“So for small, sporty cars with only two seats, we need a different concept – such as one bit of the battery in the centre of the car and another bit in front of the front wheels or behind the rear wheels. Either way, we end up splitting the battery. And that’s what we’re looking at for these iconic cars. That’s a solution that could work... perhaps.”
Speaking about the TT's big brother, Rothenpieler added: “It’s the same with the R8, really. We have been talking about the R8 and the TT, but when we presented the e-tron GT, it’s an iconic car as well, a real statement. For me, the e-tron GT was the first step towards having an electrified car with Audi Sport RS in its DNA.
“It’s a bit bigger, that car, so it was still possible to use the normal battery layout. But, if we talk about R8 then yes, we have to divide the battery system in the same way as we have to with the TT.”
The question remains, after months of rumours and hints, if Audi couldn't justify their small and slow-selling TT, is electrification going to make it more appealing? Some here at SXdrv think not but others think the general public like the idea. We will wait and see.