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Audi R5, Porsche 550, VW Bluesport 'on hold'

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 00:00:00 -0800

Numerous indications are pointing to the exciting mid-engined VW, Porsche and Audi sports cars being on ice.

The group had been collaborating to develop the VW Bluesport, Porsche 550 and Audi R5 - some observers had hailed the new roadsters as the Elise from Germany.

Porsche doubts over the 550

But at the weekend Porsche CEO Matthias Muller told German business rag Wirtschaftswoche that he was worried a cheaper Porsche may dilute the brand's image. 'Possibly we need to wait until the next generation of customers before the idea of a small roadster will work for Porsche.'

The new entry-level Porsche, depicted here in our artist's impression (red car), was viewed internally as the successor to the 1950s Porsche 550 and was being tentatively slated for launch in 2014. That date now seems very optimistic.

Audi R5 wobbles

Audi sources, too, have told CAR they're getting cold feet over the planned R5. That's our name, not theirs - but pigeonholes how Ingolstadt planners had seen the mid-engined sports car slot beneath the R8 in its sports car range.

However, with plans for the next TT range to expand further and the new 2014 Audi R8 to continue in its niche, there was deemed to be too little space for a further sports car. Especially one developed by Porsche.

CAR's European editor Georg Kacher said: 'There is no prize for guessing why Audi´s top brass is not overly keen to adopt the still tentative mid-engined R5 two-seater defined in Weissach.'

The VW view on the Bluesport

Volkswagen engineering chief Ulrich Hackenberg has said that the engineering for its Bluesport roadster - the first car to be shown in concept guise - is completed but the business case is holding up the development.

‘There is no official release for the project,' he told Autocar. 'It’s not a technology problem, but of finding enough customers. I don’t have enough [sales] volume to get the go-ahead.’

By Tim Pollard (artist's impression Christian Schulte)