The move from MLB to MQB would've saved the company roughly £820 million.
Audi recently refreshed its entire A4 lineup (RS4 Avant coming soon), but back at home in Ingolstadt, work is already underway for the next iteration of the company’s best-selling car ever. With about every fifth Audi delivered nowadays being an A4, there’s a lot riding on the sixth generation of the midsize model to continue the success of its predecessors. The saga started a quarter of a century ago with the original A4 that replaced the Audi 80 series, and after more than 7.5 million cars sold to date, the Four Rings are preparing the next-gen model for a release in either 2022 or 2023.
Automobile Magazine has some information about the new A4, which they say it will stick to the MLB platform like the current car with its longitudinally mounted engines. Things could’ve been much different with the model’s underpinnings, with the report saying Audi considered demoting the A4 to the omnipresent MQB platform to save money.
Gallery: 2020 Audi A4 Model Line
Switching the A4 from its sophisticated MLB platform to the mainstream MQB and transversely mounted engines would’ve saved the company in excess of $1 billion (approx. £820 million at current exchange rates) over the course of the model’s life cycle of around seven years. The Volkswagen Group wanted to cut costs to better face the never-ending Dieselgate scandal, but some were concerned an MQB-based A4 would’ve diluted Audi’s premium brand image.
Codenamed B10, the next-generation A4 is believed to have a short front overhang like the current model, but with “more meat between the bumper and windscreen,” according to a member of Audi’s product strategy committee (PSK). He goes on to mention the more dynamic exterior design will make the A4 resemble a “shorter and sportier A6.” The car’s appearance is so impressive that it allegedly received “standing ovations” within Audi folks.
In related news, the report goes on to mention things are not looking so good for the A4-based A5 Coupe, Cabriolet, and Sportback. Apparently, these three might be axed along with the larger A7 Sportback. It is believed the A5 and A7 will morph into a single MLB-based five-door model, but nothing is official at this point. Even the A8‘s future is uncertain based on the same report, although it’s hard to believe Audi will eliminate its crown jewel. Undisclosed sources cited by Automobile Magazine are saying a new range topper, tentatively dubbed A9, is on the agenda, based on an electric platform and with a Q E-Tron “grand coupe” derivative.