Audi’s finalised plans for the all-new A4 include an electric-only four-wheel-drive performance RS model and a hybrid RS4 to top a line-up underpinned by two different platforms, according to well-placed Ingolstadt insiders. One platform will be used for combustion-engined hybrid variants and the other for pure-electric models.
The sixth-generation A4 is due to go on sale in the UK in 2023. Volume-selling versions of Audi’s long-running BMW 3 Series rival will continue to be sold in saloon and estate (Avant) bodystyles based on a modified version of the existing MLB platform, which underpins a wide variety of other Volkswagen Group models.
The new A4 will offer a range of upgraded petrol and diesel engines equipped with either mild- or plug-in hybrid assistance and offered in both front- and four-wheel-drive (quattro) layouts.
Markus Hoffmann, head of R&D at Audi, said: “We already have electrification modules today, from mild hybrids to plug-in hybrids – and we will be focusing even more intensively on electrification in the cars that follow.”
Electrification will extend throughout the range, all the way up to the successor to the RS4, which will retain today’s twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine but is in line to receive electric assistance that will lift its output beyond the 444bhp and 443lb ft of the existing model.
Also under development at the German car maker is the new pure-electric A4 E-tron. Set to challenge the Tesla Model 3 and newly unveiled BMW i4, it is based around the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture that has been developed in a joint engineering programme between Audi and Volkswagen Group sibling company Porsche.
The PPE platform used by the A4 E-tron will be shared with the upcoming Audi Q6 E-tron, as well as an electric version of the secondgeneration Macan currently under development at Porsche. The architecture will also underpin the new A6 E-tron, recently revealed in concept form and which, like the A4 E-tron, will be sold alongside its combustion-engined namesake until petrol and diesel are discontinued.
The new electric A4 is set to adopt broadly similar exterior styling to its combustion-engined siblings but will be differentiated visually by a blanked-off grille and other unique design elements to further improve its aerodynamic efficiency. Although not yet confirmed, it is likely to feature a five-door layout with a liftback-style tailgate similar to today’s A5 Sportback, following the lead of the A6 E-tron.