Audi's new A4 will lead a surge of new models from the Volkswagen Group when it is revealed in the final three months of this year

The Volkswagen Group is planning a new model blitz over the next two years, with 50 new and revised vehicles arriving by the end of 2015.

One of the most important models will be the all-new Audi A4, which VW Group boss Dr Martin Winterkorn revealed will arrive in the "last three months" of 2015. A facelifted Porsche 911 is also on the way, as is a new Volkswagen Tiguan SUV.

In an attempt to turn around its ailing US operation, the VW brand will launch a facelifted version of the US-market Passat later this year. By the end of 2016, a long-wheelbase Tiguan and the production version of the seven-seat CrossBlue SUV will also be rolled out.

The new A4 will be based on Audi’s new MLB platform, which uses both steel and aluminium in its construction and is assembled with welding, rivets and adhesives. The first car to arrive on this architecture was the new Q7 SUV. The A4 is expected to be the smallest model based on this platform.

The development of three basic vehicle architectures by the VW Group underpins the company’s extensive model roll-out.

At today’s VW annual conference, VW boss Martin Winterkorn said the ability to build different models from different brands "bumper-to-bumper" on the same three basic production lines will eventually significantly reduce costs and improve profit margins.

While the costs of engineering and rolling out the three architectures have been significant, Winterkorn said the VW Group will be reaping "significant" rewards over the next few years.

Winterkorn went on to say that in 2015, some 2.7 million VW Group models – or 15% of all production - will be based on the new MQB architecture. This will leap to 7 million models by 2018, which should make it the biggest common automotive platform project yet seen.

Winterkorn pointed out that 30% of Skoda models are already based on the MQB platform and that the Czech brand is enjoying 7% profit margins, well ahead of the the VW brand’s 2.5%.

These three ‘modular toolkits’ will also allow production to be moved closer to where the cars are sold. The current Golf and new Passat are already being built on the same production line in a new German MQB factory.

Today, VW has 18 plants running MQB production lines. This will rise to 29 plants by 2016.

Over the next few years the transverse-engined MQB architecture will be used for models from the upcoming compact Audi Q1 SUV and VW Golf through to the new Passat and up to the new seven-seat SUV, which will be launched in the US in late 2016.

Audi’s MLB architecture will underpin all of the brand’s vehicles from the A4 to the Q7 as well as the upcoming A8 limo and Q6 battery-electric crossover model. It will also be used for the next Porsche Cayenne and the new Bentley Bentayga super-SUV. The MLB platform is natively front-wheel drive, but has a longitudinal engine layout.

Porsche is leading development of the MSB platform. This is natively rear-wheel drive and is the next-generation development of the platform under the current Panamera. It will underpin all future front-engined Porsches as well as the next generation of Bentley road cars, including the expected production version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 coupé concept.

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Our Verdict

Audi A4

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
6

12 March 2015
No mention of Seat in the article?

12 March 2015
The A4 has been MLB-based since 2007. Suspect it might be a second-generation MLB they're talking about here.

13 March 2015
It clearly states Two years, but everything is to arrive by the end of 2015, so which is it ?

I fear that with a common undercarriage, it will means that the brands will become even closer in looks, today, it is hard to tell the difference between some Skoda's, Audi's and VW's, they may be able to sell the cars, but they are seriously lacking any decent design flair.

I know people may not like Citroen, but their designs are getting back to how they used to be, and the sales are showing that people are happy to have these "way out" cars, just a shame that the Germans are just too boring to actually give any of their cars some decent designs.

13 March 2015
The US-spec Passat is what happens when a manufacturer tries to lower the sales price by decontenting the car. Everything that was laudable about the Passat in the past (ride, power and build quality for the price) have gone out the window to try and undercut the Camry and Accord on price. It obviously isn't working. They need to get the Passat back to Euro-levels and sharpish if they want to keep selling them. I also think they need to make a US-spec version of the Amarok now that GM is opening the small truck category back up. They could even look at making a big truck based off of the Touareg to capture that part of the market and should be able to with minimal additional development costs. With a narrow selection of vehicle types, sub-Euro quality on everything but the new Golf and prices not much less than Toyota and Honda VW in the States is neither fish nor fowl. Until VW decides what it wants to be it will continue to be nothing unfortunately.

13 March 2015
It all seems very GM 1920s... And the emphasis is totally on profitability for a manufacturer, not customer appreciation. Meanwhile - as pointed out above - VW/Audi's product become more homogenised by the minute. At least GM products used to be (for the most part) distinguishable. To take an example: the rear end of the new Skoda Superb really could be from ANY of their brands.

16 March 2015
or should that be clowns? very audinary cars, just less than reliable.

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