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by Jay Traugott
With its proposed R4 project likely cancelled, Audi plans to move the next TT upmarket so that it can better fill the lineup gap for sports car buyers not looking to buy an R8.
The third-generation of Audi's popular TT is just around the corner from its official debut. Many details are still scarce but Audi officials are beginning to provide more direct clues as to what we can expect from the all-new model. Speaking with Car and Driver at the Detroit Auto Show last week, Audi chief designer Wolfgang Egger said that the new TT - as well as the next A4 - will introduce the automaker's new styling language which will further differentiate the brand's cars from its crossovers.
Egger stated that his company understands "the criticism of our cars being too similar to each other," so anything to deviate away from the Russian Matryoshka doll-like styling between its cars and crossovers is a welcomed change. This new design will be more angular with "more-daring headlight styling" thanks to full LED technology. What's also important is what lies underneath the TT's skin. Like many other new models in the VW Group's brand lineup, it will be built on the MQB modular-transversal architecture. The straight-five engine will remain but it'll be offered with various levels of power.
The TT RS will remain top gun as it'll produce about 400 horsepower.
However, the bottom-line strategy for the next TT is that Audi will be moving it more upmarket because its proposed R4 project likely won't happen. The R4 was intended to fill the gap between the TT and the R8. Combined with its new lineup status and edgier styling, Audi is hoping for the third-gen TT to become an icon like the original. The second-generation failed to do this partly because of its toned down look.