Audi TT replacement could be ‘mini e-tron GT’

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Audi is rethinking its iconic TT sports car – and this mini e-tron GT could be the direction the firm takes.

Audi’s style icon for more than two decades, the TT, is set to be axed when production of its current generation ends in 2023 – and the car will be replaced by a new style of “emotional” model that will be larger, and could well have four doors.

Audi’s senior management team has been engaged in heated discussions over the TT’s future for more than three years.

As recently as 2019, the company’s then-technical boss Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler explained that the brand was exploring different battery packaging to see if it could still offer a compact all-electric sports car.

However, Rothenpieler’s successor, Oliver Hoffman, has now confirmed to Automotive Daily that this solution has been ruled out and suggested that Audi will use the switch to an all-electric car to rethink the positioning of its smaller sports model.

“We want to add some very emotional cars to our portfolio,” Hoffman said, “and we have some really good concepts. But a direct follower for the TT is not the answer. We can’t just say ‘We’ll do the TT in an electric way.’ Frankly speaking, to have a TT with a battery is not easy to handle.

audi 2023 electric rendering

“Instead, we are asking: ‘What are the right emotional cars for us at Audi?’ and we want to fascinate. With the TT we surprised our customers. They said: ‘What is this?’ There was no demand for a TT when we launched it. And this is what we want to do again, to surprise our customers.

“We’re working hard on this concept and I’m really happy to work with [Audi CEO] Markus Duesmann. We’re pushing hard and hopefully we can surprise with it.”

Audi sources have suggested that the TT’s indirect successor will be a larger model – and that dwindling sales of smaller cars, and two-door vehicles in general, are responsible for the TT’s demise as we know it.

Our renderings show how Audi designers could take these principles, along with cues from EV concepts such as the recent Grandsphere, and apply them to create a mini e-tron GT – a car with four-door practicality, but cloaked by a more aggressive roofline than the likes of the A3 saloon and A4. Even so, it will take careful positioning to make such a vehicle distinct from the forthcoming A4 e-tron, which is expected to have sleeker looks to give Audi a direct rival to BMW’s i4.

The timeframe involved also presents Audi with opportunities and challenges on platform choice. The logical option for a car of the current TT’s size would be the same MEB architecture as the likes of the VW ID.3 and Audi’s own Q4 e-tron. But the company may choose to wait and base its new arrival on SSP, a unified set-up that mixes elements from MEB with the components from the PPE architecture that will underpin the likes of the Q6 e-tron. This could offer greater flexibility on battery packaging.

The third and final-generation TT will have had an extended shelf life by the time its production ends, lasting up to nine years instead of the usual seven. It is conceivable that its nameplate will be dropped entirely, reflecting changes in size, market trends and overall approach, as well as powertrain.

John McIlroy

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