This story contains independent speculative illustrations created by Jean Francois Hubert/SB-Medien for CarScoops that are neither related to nor endorsed by Audi.
We have written many things about the next-gen Audi A4 Avant that is expected to arrive next year, but what is the case with the more traditional three-box bodystyle? The four-door sedan could transform into a sexier and more practical five-door Sportback bodystyle, which if materialized could also serve as a replacement for the A5 Sportback, merging two models into one.
Starting with the A4, all of the camouflaged prototypes caught by our spy photographers at the time of writing had the Avant bodystyle, with no reported sightings of a sedan. However, we are confident that Audi won’t let the rival BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans unanswered, so it is safe to assume that an A4 with three-box proportions will arrive shortly. Still, with sedans getting sleeker rooflines and fastback models becoming more common, Audi designers could come up with an A4 Sportback instead of a traditional sedan. Our associates Jean Francois Hubert/SB-Medien created a rendering of the hypothetical model giving us a better idea of what to expect.
The A4 Sportback would share the entire front end with the A4 Avant, including the aggressive matrix LED headlights, the wide Singleframe grille, the sculpted bumper with the triangular intakes, the wide front fenders and the distinctive bonnet. The differences would appear from the B-Pillar and back, with a dropping roofline and pronounced shoulders adding more drama into the mix. It would also share the same dashboard with two separate screens – a smaller free-standing instrument cluster and a larger central touchscreen for the infotainment.
Such a vehicle would be very close to the current A5 Sportback, making it obsolete. Audi hasn’t given any information about the future of the A5 family, but rumors about a possible demise of the A5 Sportback are circulating the web since 2019. Merging the A4 sedan and the A5 Sportback into a single model would make sense from a financial standpoint, as the automaker tries to sustain both its ICE-powered range while at the same time offering BEV alternatives for every single line for the remaining part of the decade.
ICE-Powered And EV Models Add-Up To A Wide Rage Of Products
We already know that the next generation of the Audi A4 will be split into two separate models. The ICE-powered A4 that we have been detailing will be based on either an evolved version of the current model’s MLB platform or the rumoured PPC (Premium Platform Combustion) architecture that is said to underpin the last combustion models from Audi. Then, there will also be a fully electric A4 e-tron that will be based on the completely different PPE architecture and possibly feature a uniquely designed Sportback body, similar to the larger A6 e-tron.
Having two separate models for each model line for one more generation will significantly increase the size of Audi’s lineup. The automaker has already announced it will axe the A1 and the Q2, but more bodystyle variants could end up on the chopping block in order to free up space and resources for the EVs. Mind you, the last model with a combustion engine will be unveiled in 2026, before Audi becomes an EV-only brand in 2033.
The fifth-gen Audi A4 debuted in 2015 and received a facelift in 2019. Likewise, the current second-gen A5 was introduced in 2016 and was updated in 2019. This means that both models could be replaced at around the same time, making it easier to merge bodystyle variants. What we don’t know is whether Audi will go for a more drastic solution and discontinue the entire A5 range including the Coupe, Cabriolet, and Sportback, or keep the two-door models alive for one more generation, fighting against the BMW 4-Series and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz CLE.
In any case, all bodystyle variants of the next ICE-powered Audi A4 and A5 would share the same platform and engine lineup. This would include an updated version of the mild-hybrid 2.0 TFSI petrol engine, a new plug-in hybrid powertrain with increased EV range, an electrified V6 TFSI for the S models, and a stronger plug-in hybrid setup for the performance-focused RS.
We expect to learn more about the sixth-gen Audi A4 in the next few months, and hopefully spot camouflaged prototypes with the three-box bodystyle in order to see how it looks in real life.
Illustrations by Jean Francois Hubert/SB-Medien