R9 supercar launch set for late 2006

Audi plans to build up to 5,000 units a year in Neckarsulm

Ingolstadt, Germany. Production of the new Audi R9 supercar will begin in late 2006 at the company's Neckarsulm plant, Audi Chairman Martin Winterkorn said in an interview.

The vehicle, based on the Le Mans Quattro concept shown at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show, will be built on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform. The R9 also will get its V-10 engine from the Gallardo. But the engine's output will be scaled back from 500 horsepower to 450 hp. That will put some distance between Audi's sports car and its Italian sister company's own supercar.

The V-10 will be mated with a six-speed transmission. A less powerful V-8 will be introduced on the R9 at the same time. Audi sources say the company is expecting to produce 3,000 to 5,000 vehicles a year.

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