What It Is: Our well-informed artist’s interpretation as to what the next generation of the Audi A4 will look like. It’s to be edgier and more angular, and it will brim with technology, including full-LED lighting, a head-up display, and autonomous-driving functions.
Why It Matters: While the market for small and compact crossovers still shows considerable potential for growth globally, and the Q5 has actually become Audi’s bestseller in the U.S., the A4 will continue to serve as the backbone of Ingolstadt’s product program. With Mercedes increasing the luxury quotient in its new-for-2015 C-class, BMW’s 3-series continuing to pile up 10Best Cars awards, and serious challengers emerging in the Lexus IS and the Cadillac ATS, the segment is as hotly contested as ever. Making a highly desirable A4 that can stand up to this competition will be crucial to maintaining Audi’s upward trajectory.
Platform: The next A4 will be among the first vehicles to make use of the second-generation, Audi-developed MLB (Modular Longitudinal) architecture. This platform will underpin a large number of vehicles, including future generations of the A6, the A8, the A5, and the Volkswagen Phaeton. Thanks to a clever mix of structural materials, MLB II will cut about 200 pounds from the outgoing platform, and it will also accommodate front- or all-wheel drive as well as plug-in hybrid componentry.
Powertrains: The next A4’s engine arsenal will include 1.4-, 1.8-, and 2.0-liter four-cylinders; a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 in the S4; four- and six-cylinder diesels; and very likely another V-8 in the next RS4. The U.S. should expect to receive a very similar lineup to what we see today: the 2.0-liter turbo four, the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, and maybe a twin-turbo V-8 should Audi decide to resurrect the RS4 on our shores. (That high-performance model was last sold here as a sedan and a cabriolet for 2007 and 2008, but is currently only built as an Avant wagon for overseas markets.) We also expect a diesel model to be available here. A six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic will fill out the transmission roster.
Thanks to: Car and Driver