The new Audi A4 Avant will be powered by a range of hybridised combustion engines, with a pure-electric option arriving later on
Our spy photographers have spotted the new Audi A4 Avant undergoing its development programme ahead of its expected launch date in 2023. These spies are also the first time we’ve seen the next A4 in the metal, which gives us our first look at the new car’s styling.
Audi’s changes for the sixth-generation A4 Avant are evolutionary. The car’s headlamps are a little slimmer, the side intakes are slightly narrower and, contrary to the current fashion, the radiator grille appears to have reduced in size. The car’s basic silhouette is roughly the same, though.
The cabin will get a more thorough rethink. We’re expecting a new dashboard with even fewer physical controls and a redesigned centre console with new toggle gear selectors, as the next A4 will probably only be available with an automatic gearbox.
The biggest changes will happen under the skin, though. The next A4 will stay on the same MLB underpinnings as the current model, but it’ll be powered by a line-up of new combustion engines which Audi’s head of technical development, Oliver Hoffman, describes as “the best [the company] has ever launched.”
Most of the line-up will be based around an updated version of the Volkswagen Group’s omnipresent EA888 turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Improvements will include new variable-section turbochargers that claim to improve throttle response and a higher-pressure fuel injection system.
Electrification will play a key role in the A4 range, too. The petrol engine will be offered with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology at the lower end of the line-up and full-blown plug-in hybrid technology towards the upper end of the range. The latter option will probably use the same 14.4kWh battery pack and electric motor as other MLB models, such as the Q5.
Diesel power will also remain, although it’ll probably play second fiddle to Audi’s new-look line-up of electrified petrol engines. The bulk of the diesel range should be based around the same 150kW turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit also found in the Q5 SUV.
Audi could also launch a pure-electric version of the A4 Avant later in the car’s lifecycle, which would give the brand somewhat of an edge over the competition. Currently none of the A4’s main rivals have been offered as a pure-electric estate. The focus in this class is currently on sedans, as shown by the BMW i4 and Tesla Model 3.
However, if it does materialise, the pure-electric A4 will probably move to a different platform, as the MLB underpinnings aren’t set up for EV powertrains. It could use either a modified version of the PPE chassis that will sit under the upcoming Q6 e-tron or the Volkswagen Group’s new SSP architecture, which is due to arrive in 2025.