AUDI’S new-model juggernaut keeps rolling along, with the vitally important next-generation A4 sedan set for a September debut at the Frankfurt motor show.
Although the signature six-light profile shows a clear evolution of the existing seven-year-old series’ styling language, the aerodynamically enhanced newcomer’s wheelbase seems to have been stretched. Combined with shorter overhangs, there ought to be more cabin space than in any preceding version.
Perhaps the biggest visual changes to the B9-series A4 occur up front, with the latest TT’s hexagonal grille shape making an appearance, bookended by a pair of jagged-shaped headlights that signal an LED-led new look for the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class rival.
Up-spec versions are also likely to score Matrix LED headlights with directional indicators front and rear.
Like the second-gen Q7 SUV due in Australia later in the year, the A4 switches to Audi’s new aluminium and composite-enhanced MLB Evo modular longitudinal architecture, promising weight cuts of up to 100kg combined with a sizeable leap in stiffness for significantly improved dynamic capabilities; at least that’s what we’re hoping for because both German rivals show up the current A4 in this department.
The A4 will offer a variety of engine options, from a 1.4-litre four-cylinder TFSI turbo with cylinder-on-demand activation through to a 3.0-litre V6 TFSI. Turbo-diesels will be available in 1.6, 2.0 and 3.0-litre sizes.
Seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch and maybe even a new nine-speed auto transmission have been mooted, transferring power to either the front all for wheels.
More intriguingly, higher-end variants will adopt the long-awaited e-quattro plug-in hybrid set-up, employing a 2.0 turbo-diesel up front and an electric motor powering the rear wheels.
It’s all made possible thanks to the MLB Evo’s ‘plug-and-play’ electric/hybrid technology adaptability.
Simplicity and high-minded design are the new A4’s calling cards inside, with spy shots revealing body-coloured dash trim intersecting a flat lower console area between the front seats featuring the company’s MMI multimedia controller.
Audi reportedly delayed the A4’s launch after assessing the benchmark-setting quality of the latest C-Class cabin.
An Avant wagon version is in the pipeline for a few months later, followed by an S4 and then, we hope, an RS4 high-performance flagship.
The closely related second-generation A5 coupe range will also spring off the same component set.
Expect pricing to mirror today’s A4 range when the new model arrives in Australia in the second half of 2016, meaning from about $55,000 for the base four-pot turbo front-driver to more than $150K when the RS4 eventually lobs.
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