Fifth-generation A4 saloon due on sale in the UK in the middle of this year, with Avant and Allroad models to follow

The next-generation Audi A4 has again been spotted, with these latest spy pictures showing a less-disguised prototype in testing.

These latest pictures come alongside news of a new ultra-efficient 2.0-litre engine whichwill make its debut in the new A4. Launched at the Vienna Motor Symposium, the new 2.0-litre four-cylinder TFSI powerplant has been described as "a prime example of the Audi rightsizing strategy" by the firm's technical chief Ulrich Hackenberg.

With outputs of 187bhp and 236lb ft, the new engineis capable of returning up to 56.5mpg.

Recent spy pictures have also shown the new A4 Avant in testing, ahead of going on sale next year.

Despite being heavily disguised, the estate variant showed some of the design cues already seen on the prototype saloon earlier this year. Such as the angular, LED headlights from the new TT.

Based on the second-generation MLB platform, the new A4 will be part of a push for improved economy from Audi. 

A range of longitudinally mounted 1.4, 1.8 and 2.0-litre TFSI engines are expected to power the new A4, some featuring cylinder shut-down technology, alongside 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel units. At least one model should offer CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km.

Audi is also planning to introduce 3.0-litre TFSI and TDI engines, such as the one shown in Vienna last year, but those will likely be mainly for the US market.

A plug-in hybrid model, using the same petrol-electric powertrain as the A3 e-tron and with an electric-only range of around 30 miles, is also planned. A diesel-electric system is also under development and could be introduced later on to feed a growing demand for hybrids in Europe.

Both six-speed manual and nine-speed automatic gearboxes should be offered, but today's multitronic CVT will be dropped from the line-up. All A4 models will be front-wheel drive, with four-wheel drive available as an option. Stop-start technology, brake energy recuperation and thermal management should also feature. There's also the chance to offer all-wheel drive via an electrically driven rear axle.

The saloon variant of the A4 will launch first, with an Avant model appearing soon after. Reports suggest an Allroad version will follow later in the year, while successors to the A5 coupé, cabriolet and Sportback are also planned for 2016.

The A4's length and height will remain close to the current car, but its width will increase in order to house a new chassis with wider tracks. The wheelbase of the new car should also be longer than the 2810mm of the current A4. The new A4's boot capacity should remain the same as the current A4, at 480 litres.

Inside, the new A4 should offer a minimalistic design with extras such as a head-up display available as options. The latest version of Audi's MMI infotainment system should also be available, controlled via a touchpad as seen on the new Audi TT.

Currently one of the top-ranking compact executive models, the new A4 will face stiff competition from the BMW 3-series and new Mercedes-Benz C-class. The A4 is also Audi's best-selling model, with a total of 338,449 units sold in 2013. 

The new MLB platform has been in development for five years, and represents a huge investment for Audi. Dumping the traditional welded steel monocoque structure, the MLB platform uses a mixture of aluminium and steel - and, eventually, some lightweight composite materials - that are joined by rivets, screws and high-tech adhesives. 

The move has caused Audi to completely retool the factories that will build all of its models from the A4 upwards. Audi engineers believe that a mixed-materials architecture is superior to one made mostly of steel or mostly of aluminium. The theory is that being able to use different materials in different parts of the structure results in a more ideally optimised structure.

It is understood that the A4 will use high-strength steels for the sills, body pillars and crash structures in the nose. The front suspension turrets and parts of the engine bay will be made from aluminium castings and extrusions, while aluminium is also expected to be used for the roof panel, bonnet and front wings.

More exotic variations of the MLB platform, such as that set to be used on the new Q7 SUV, could also get super-stiff composite structures around the bulkhead and composite floor panels.

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Our Verdict

The Audi A4 saloon is bigger, roomier and more aerodynamic than its predecessor

The Audi A4 is an improvement over the previous version, but isn't good enough to topple the BMW 3-series

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Comments
23

A34

16 August 2013

That means a struggle for Audi marketing. Meanwhile the weight saving and cylinder de-activation options (if priced right) should be good news...

9 January 2014
A34 wrote:

That means a struggle for Audi marketing. Meanwhile the weight saving and cylinder de-activation options (if priced right) should be good news...

I don't think so. There are lots of middle managers and Execs clambering for an A4 as they are seen as the height of style, taste and public image. (Recent conversation (to go-getter exec on a decent bonus): what do you drive? An Audi... A4 Sport. Me: Oh, dear.) The car still sells well, despite being poor to drive, ride in and at times, questionable reliability and quality. Personally I think it will look better with this dust sheet on. We can pretty much guess what it will look, feel and drive right already.

16 August 2013

If it looked like the sketches it would be better, but, as we all know,Audi's,with ecception of the R8 are a bit wooden to steer.

Peter Cavellini.

16 August 2013

Would be interesting to know if Audi plans to use its existing 4WD transmissions for the new 4WD models, or might it be considering using the hybrid system's electric motors to provide the drive torque to the rear axle? Using electric drive at one end to supplement  the normal engine's power delivery to the other could bring many advantages, particularly weigh saving, reduced mechanical losses and the easy ability to vary front/rear torque split to suit conditions.

If the company sticks with its existing transmission, then a 4WD hybrid promises to be a very heavy beast.  

16 August 2013

LP in Brighton wrote:

Would be interesting to know if Audi plans to use its existing 4WD transmissions for the new 4WD models, or might it be considering using the hybrid system's electric motors to provide the drive torque to the rear axle? Using electric drive at one end to supplement  the normal engine's power delivery to the other could bring many advantages, particularly weigh saving, reduced mechanical losses and the easy ability to vary front/rear torque split to suit conditions.

If the company sticks with its existing transmission, then a 4WD hybrid promises to be a very heavy beast.  

As the electric motor will be housed in the gearbox, they will be using the existing system suplimented with electric motors rather than the system Volvo and Peugeot use now where the rear axel is powered only by electricity

16 August 2013

What styling? Like most Audis it is bland and uninteresting

16 August 2013

Zeroboost wrote:

What styling? Like most Audis it is bland and uninteresting

Yes ... But ultimately ageless ...

29 September 2013
Suzuki QT wrote:

Zeroboost wrote:

What styling? Like most Audis it is bland and uninteresting

Yes ... But ultimately ageless ...

I would they are starting to look a bit dated, they have had the same styling for 15 years. If this is the new A4, it doesn't really fit in with Autocar reporting “Good design must always express a vision. We need something new without breaking from tradition,” said Egger.

16 August 2013

A "scoop" would be something real. A shot of a prototype, for instance. This is a drawing of the old car with a modified front, plus some speculative generalities. Mind you, in fairness to Autocar, it's an Audi. Even the scoops are dull.

28 August 2013

"3.0-litre V6 giving a choice of 220bhp and 270bhp."

"250bhp version of the supercharged 3.0-litre V6."

A bit underpowered for a 3.0 litre V6, I think

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