Hackenberg has been Volkswagen's member of the board of management responsible for development, but he will continue to oversee the technical development of all VW Group brands.
The 63-year-old has been a mastermind behind the VW Group's MQB modular platform strategy that will see virtually every Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat share key components.
Durheimer had only been in the Audi post since September 2012 after a stint as CEO of Bentley and Bugatti. Audi has yet to confirm a new position for Durheimer but says he will "take on other management responsibilities within the VW Group".
European media reports that Durheimer was axed for failing to give Audi the technological edge against luxury-car rivals, including an insufficient electric car strategy.
Heinz-Jakob Neusser will replace Hackenberg as VW brand development boss.