The Audi TT, whose future was uncertain, is now expected to go electric. The automaker is currently looking at several battery layouts after the company has tentatively decided to develop a variation of the sports car with full-electric power.
The production of the iconic model, which first hit the market 20 years ago, was under threat after lackluster sales and increasingly strict CO2 emissions laws. Audi sources says the company has toyed with the idea of developing a four-door TT Sportback as a follow-up to the existing Mk3 model.
Yet in an exclusive interview with Auto Express, Audi’s new technical development board member, Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, said that he is “fighting” to maintain a two-door sports car in the roster. “At Audi, we need cars like the two-door TT,” he added. “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.”
Some say that the last decade of the twentieth century was a great time for design at the Volkswagen Group. The company debuted the New Beetle with its unique blue and white VW badges, the first Golf-based Octavia and SEAT Leon, the Audi TT, the mark IV Golf and the B5 Passat, which featured innovative interior and exterior designs. The period resembles the current Range Rover era, which includes the RR, RRS, Evoque 1 five-door, Evoque 2 and Velar, all of which are design milestones in their own right.
Meanwhile, Audi is evaluating how to produce vehicles like the TT with electric technology. Rothenpieler said that the future of the TT may include both plug-in hybrid and pure-electric models while a BEV version is currently in the works with different battery layouts being considered. “For cars like the TT, the battery in the floor is a problem,” he said. “Normally in a pure-electric car, you have a wheel at each corner and the battery pack in the center, and the pack is 12 or 13 centimeters tall. But this makes the base of the seating point higher.”
He added that smaller, sportier cars with only two seats need a distinctive concept with one part of the battery in the center of the car and another in front of the front wheels, or behind the rear wheels. Either way, the battery will be split, which could provide a solution for iconic cars, like the TT.
Discussions regarding the future of Audi’s sports cars also center around the R8, although it is dependent on what happens with the smallest available Lamborghini supercar, the Huracán. “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,” said Rothenpieler, who added that it was a bigger car, therefore, it was still possible to use a normal battery layout. The R8 though would require a split battery system as is being considered for the TT.