Remember the Audi Roadjet concept from January’s Detroit show? Ingolstadt is forgetting about it, having put plans for a production version of the jacked-up, high-roof A4 on ice. But its sister company, Volkswagen, is pushing ahead with plans for a sleek and sexy MPV, to take on the R-class and Ford’s S-Max from 2009.
Audi is integral to the project. The five-door hatchback is set to be spun off today’s A6 Avant, which is pensioned off in 2010. That means a big car close to 4.9m in length, although the current thinking is for only five seats in two rows, and heaps of luggage capacity. Think of it as a luxurious, spacious MPV that fits between the Touran and Sharan, with prices around £20,000.
Power comes from four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesels. VW will get access to the 2.7- and 3.0-litre V6 TDIs that are currently the preserve of Audi, as well as the 280bhp 3.6-litre V6 petrol heading for the Passat R36.
BMW also plans an R-class rival in 2009, dubbed ‘super-Touring’ by insiders. The five-door will stand around 60mm taller than a 5-series Touring, and the look is said to blend sports estate with coupé. Expect a dramatically tapering roofline, and big wheels up to 21in in diameter. In the nose will be six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel units, sending power to the rear wheels.
Four-wheel drive – standard on the SUV-based R-class – will be an option in certain markets.
Eschewing standard 4x4 and sharing a car platform means that the super-Touring should weigh up to 200kg less than an R-class. Sounds the ideal formula for producing the ultimate driving MPV. And BMW will have to, to avoid a slow start, R-class-style.