We have seen a total of zero spy shots depicting the next-generation Audi A4 and yet there have been quite a few interesting reports about the B10-generation model. For starters, it is believed the Four Rings company was tempted to demote the A4 to the MQB platform in a move that would've pleased the bean counters as the switch from MLB would have saved roughly $1 billion. However, that's not going to happen.
What will happen for sure is the switch to a plug-in hybrid powertrain for the range-topping RS4 Avant. Audi Sport confirmed plans to electrify the crown jewel of the A4 lineup and a new report from Autocar claims the performance estate will retain the twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 and add an electric motor. Needless to say, it will be more powerful than today's model with its 444 bhp and 443 pound-feet (600 Newton-metres) of torque.
Gallery: Audi RS 4 Avant Facelift 2020
Interestingly, the British publication claims a fully electric RS version of the next A4 is also in the works. The zero-emissions model will be a dedicated EV model riding on the PPE platform (A6 E-Tron, Q6 E-Tron, next-gen Macan) rather than an electric adaptation of the MLB architecture. This entirely separate A4 E-Tron will complement the conventionally powered A4 model and will have an RS version at the top of the range.
Logic tells us the RS4 will retain its estate body style and the A4 RS E-Tron (name not confirmed) will have a different shape. Autocar claims the electric A4 will have a more practical liftback configuration in the same vein as the A6 E-Tron (and the A5 Sportback). The sporty version is expected to employ a dual-motor setup with Quattro all-wheel drive and a very much unconfirmed 469 bhp and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm).
The traditional A4 is said to have just about the same footprint as today’s model, but with a different rear structure to accommodate a lithium-ion battery pack with a usable capacity of 14.4 kWh. That will be reserved for the plug-in hybrid versions said to have enough juice for up to 62 miles (100 kilometres) of electric range. Mild-hybrid powertrains are also in the works, along with cleaner petrol and diesel engines to meet Euro 7 regulations.
It is believed the A4 B10 will employ all-wheel steering and a more sophisticated autonomous driving system, while an air suspension will be reserved for the separate E-Tron model. The manual gearbox currently available in some parts of the world on the entry-level A4 will be phased out to make way for a dual-clutch seven-speed or eight-speed torque-converter automatics.
The report claims Audi will have the new A4 on sale in the UK in 2023, which could mean an official reveal will take place by the end of next year. Mind you, it's going to be the very last A4 to offer a combustion engine as company boss Markus Duesmann has already said the A4 (and A6) will become purely electric by 2030.