Audi R5 and Next-generation R8 Intel Update Via CAR Magazine Porsche Story
byon 10-25-2011 at 09:36 AM (6155 Views)
CAR Magazine has published a series of intel stories about upcoming Porsche product and since it's from correspondent Georg Kacher, we listened closely. Kacher's sources tend to be board level so they're more than simple rumor and though this series was about Porsche, the Stuttgart brand's injection into the Volkswagen Group means that much of the intel carries over to Audi if you read between the lines. Here's what we've found.
First, it's important to understand the terms that are dropped in such a story. Kacher refers to Mimo several times, which refers to "Mittelmotor" or mid-engined platform and was first brandied about (first by Kacher) in regards to the platform first shown with the Volkswagen Bluesport concept. The platform was later shown in concept form as an electric-powered Audi, more specifically the blue e-tron coupe shown in Detroit.
Not much larger than today's Audi A1, the known Mimo concepts had a transverse engine layout in their concept forms and represented a new cost-effective approach to sportscar production. We've not been able to ascertain if a production version of Mimo would be transverse (like the A3 or TT but with a mid-mounted motor) or longitudinal (like the R8), though we suspect it may be mid.
The other architecture term brandied about is MSS. This architecture began life at Audi and was first revealed to us by Audi development boss Michael Dick who confirmed it as the basis for the next-generation R8, Gallardo and "Murcielago Replacement" that we now know as Aventador. Mr. Dick suggested the chassis would be dimensionally scaleable like the MLB used by Audis from A4 to A8, and also flexible in material use be it aluminum, carbon or whatever. Of course we know the Reventon makes significant use of carbon fiber. Obviously, this setup features a longitudinal engine.
Kacher's piece centers around the so-called "550 Project" at Porsche, a lighter car more like the Lotus Elise and positioned below the Boxster. Kacher references the Audi being considered for this platform and confirms the "R5" name (one we've heard before), but also suggests the Audi project and a VW sister car are still in the feasibility study stage... at least "officially".
The good news here is that R5 isn't dead, so many enthusiasts should be thrilled with that. Even more encouraging, the whole Mimo project has been transferred from Wolfsburg to Porsche's Weissach facility and will be under the watchful eye of the new R&D chief at Porsche, Wolfgang Hatz. If you don't remember, Hatz is the former engine czar of the Volkswagen and before that did the same at Audi. From Hatz we got the high-rev 4.2 of the R8 and RS 5, the latest EA888 2.0 TFSI engine series, the 3.0 TFSI, and now the 4.0 TFSI. Hatz may be at Porsche, but he gets Audi and much of the hardware we love at Audi was steered by Hatz. Thusly, we're keeping our fingers crossed about the R5.
What's confusing about Kacher's piece is that he references MSS and Mimo in the story so we're not entirely sure what configuration an R5 might take. He gives clues about planned engine setups, turbocharged flat four for the Porsche and turbocharged 2.5 TFSI with all-wheel drive for the Audi. This last bit might be a hint at configuration though because early rumors about Mimo (at least in Bluesport form) was that all-wheel drive wasn't an option.
Even more complicated is a second story about a so-called Porsche 960. The 960 would be a mid-engined Porsche set to do battle with cars like the Ferrari 458 Italia, positioned above the 911 and below the upcoming 918. Kacher introduces two new terms MSB-M or modular sportscar matrix with mittelmotor (mid-engine) and also the MSB-H with heckmotor (rear engine) derivative. He suggests these are now the in-house designations for Mimo. If we read interpret this correctly then this means long-term, MSB-H would obviously be for 911 and MSB-M could be for nearly everything else such as Porsche 960, Audi R5, Cayman, Boxster etc., etc though he still confusingly mentions the existence of MSS for the next full-generation R8 and Gallardo.
What's most confusing here is twofold. First, Gallardo and R8 should likely move to any group mid-engine setup for volume. Second, MSS is known to have a longitudinal engine. The 911, Cayman and Boxster all have longitudinal engines and so too presumably would the 960. Mimo, when it's been referred to in the past, has been associated with the VW Bluesport - a transverse setup like the TT and A3. Thus far, the neither Audi or the Volkswagen Group have developed a platform setup that could run either longitudinal or transverse engine setups depending on need, though that's not to say they haven't determined a cost-effective engineering process to do so. We simply haven't seen anything like that yet.
Read more from Kacher's Porsche 960 and 550 Intel Reports via the links below.
Full Story - Kacher/CAR Mag Intel on Porsche 550 (Also Audi R5)
Full Story - Kacher/CAR Mag Intel on Porsche 960 (Also MSB-M, MSB-H)