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Audi hatches 5-dr coupe

Coupe captured: Artist BERNIE WALSH's impression of an Audi five-door coupe.

Audi considers a radical proposal for a coupe with five doors ... that's right, five-doors

25 Jun 2001

AUDI has confirmed it is considering a coupe version of the latest generation A4 just launched in Australia - and it could have five-doors! While cynics might suggest that actually makes the A4 coupe a hatchback, the five-door proposal is at Audi AG board level right now.

It is believed a four-door coupe is also being considered for approval.

While the board is thought to be closing in on a decision, even if approval was given immediately no production car would appear before about 2005.

Why a five-door coupe? It would certainly avoid any cannibalisation of the TT and if executed properly would fulfil Audi's philosophy of "advancement through technology".

Design ideas could include small rear "suicide" doors and moveable glass that allows access to the luggage area, although these ideas are purely conjecture at this stage.

One senior Audi insider who has seen the coupe described it as being "a much bigger concept" than the TT and confirmed it had five doors.

"I've seen the car - it was a little bit controversial, coupe styling but with five doors," the insider said.

"It's very much a fastback in the way it looks - this car is very rounded." Proposals for the coupe have gone as far as the clay stage said Christian Labonte of Audi design, in Australia last week for the media launch of the A4 sedan.

"We have these ideas, but at the moment we don't know what we will do with these ideas," Mr Labonte said.

"We have shown this to the board but we don't have a decision from the board until now." The coupe proposal has fired an enormous amount of debate within the board, according to another Audi insider.

"It's all the way up to board level but there is no decision. I can tell you very openly there were times when we thought we were really close to a decision but there were some who clearly said 'forget it' and others who said 'we want it' and then all of a sudden the decision was far away.

"It's a very interesting but tricky concept at the same time so we have to make very sure that if we say yes it's the right thing to do." The engine line-up could include a 1.8 turbo, 2.4 and 3.0-litre V6 petrol engines, as well as the high-performance 2.7-litre bi-turbo. Europe would be catered for with turbo-diesel engines.

The coupe would also make a great platform for the VW Group's range of direct-injection petrol engines tagged "FSI", which will be rolled out over the next few years.

The new generation A4 cabriolet will be unveiled in production guise at September's Frankfurt motor show and it is believed the proposed coupe shares some styling ideas with this car.

"The exterior is completely new compared to the sedan," said Mr Labonte.

"It looks really different, it's more curved faces, more muscles. It's a really good car, I like it so much, we are very proud of this car." Ironically, Mr Labonte suggested the styling of the new cabriolet was "very like a coupe" when the soft-top is up.

The new A4 Avant will also get its first public airing at the Frankfurt motor show while Audi will also have a significant concept car display at the show.

A6 on the move

AUDI will move the A6 upward and away from A4 territory when the renewed range arrives toward the end of 2001.

The 2.4-litre engine will not be offered and the 2.8 replaced by the new 3.0 V6, which will be sold both as a multitronic front-wheel drive and a Tiptronic quattro.

The 4.2-litre V8 quattro and high-performance S6 will continue while an addition to the range is a version of the 2.7-litre bi-turbo engine already seen in the S4 and A6 "allroad".

At the other end of the scale, the all-aluminium A2 1.4 should also be here before the end of 2001.

But Audi Australia is sweating on the arrival of an A2 1.6-litre multitronic, which could be here before the end of 2002, to provide meaningful sales.

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