Here are the clearest pics yet of the next-generation Audi A4, as it edges closer to September’s Frankfurt show debut
CAUGHT virtually undisguised this month is the 2016 Audi A4, the ninth generation that’s undergoing final testing prior to its global debut at the IAA Frankfurt show in September.
Staying faithful to the company's signature three-box sedan ethos – aero-influenced silhouette, six-light window profile, and a stubby high-set tail – the B9 series is a somewhat predictable evolution of the successful preceding version that’s been on sale since 2008. Since then, we’ve seen an all-new BMW 3 Series (2012) and a new Mercedes C-Class (2014) in Australian showrooms.
A closer inspection of the A4 reveals a few departures for the automotive design icon, including a lower-than-expected belt line, shoulder rather than window-mounted door mirrors, and what appears to be an extended dash-to-axle ratio, for a more aggressive stance than before. Along with a greater windscreen rake, it helps disguise the A4’s front-drive fundamentals, in a class where key rivals like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, Lexus IS, and Infiniti Q50 all boast rear-drive architectures. Of course, quattro all-wheel drive will remain an option, just as all Audis in this segment have since the old 80 days of the early 1980s.
The near-production ready prototypes snapped this month also exposes the B9’s TT-esque hexagonal single-frame grille treatment, which seems to jut out more than before, as well as the overtly boomerang-shaped headlights that are expected to become one of this series’ most defining visual elements. These are less clearly defined in the spy shots due to some subtle cladding appliqués.
At the other end of the sedan is the freshly tapered tail-light theme, melding seamlessly within the scalloped boot lid, emphasising the sleeker nature of the beast. A more pronounced lip spoiler and cleaner diffuser design also separate new from old.
As we mentioned earlier in the year, the A4’s all-new aluminium and composite-enhanced MLB Evo modular longitudinal platform will bring massive weight savings as well as a lot more strength and rigidity, so expect a sportier and more dynamic experience combined with greater comfort and refinement.
Powertrains will consist of 1.4-litre to 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.2-litre V6 petrol options, as well as 1.6-litre to 2.0-litre diesel applications – all turbo and some with cylinder-on-demand tech – while an A4 e-tron plug-in electric/diesel hybrid using a 2.0-litre TDI engine should also be in the mix.
Avant wagon and A5 coupe and liftback offshoots are also waiting in the wings, so the new sedan is just the first of a string of A4-based models heading our way over the next 18 months or so.
Obviously prices will rise a little, but so should the standard specification, since the competition is currently red-hot; so count on the base petrol 1.8 TFSI front-driver to start off from $55,000, stretching towards $150K plus once the fire-breathing RS4 hits the street.
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