It was less than two weeks ago when rumours emerged about Audi's plan to update its nomenclature and now the Four Rings are confirming a new naming strategy. Speaking with German magazine Auto Bild, CEO Markus Duesmann announced the next-generation A4 will be sold as an A5 while the future A6 will transition to the A7 moniker. Doing so will enable the Ingolstadt-based marque to use odd numbers for cars with combustion engines and even numbers for EVs.
The man in charge of the luxury brand went on to say the A4 will return strictly as an electric vehicle, positioned below a future zero-emission A6. He refused to go into details about what will happen with today's A5 and A7 lineups, only saying details about additional body variants will be disclosed in the future. He did mention we should "look forward to many emotional and high-performance derivatives," so expect S and RS variants in the coming years.
Audi A4 Avant new spy photos
With the petrol/diesel-fuelled A4 becoming the A5, it can only mean Audi is working on S5 Saloon/Avant and an RS5 Avant. However, it remains to be seen whether there are plans to sell an A5 Saloon together with an A5 Sportback. Spy shots have fuelled rumours about the demise of the good ol' saloon. Only the A5 Avant has been spotted so far, and we're months away from the world premiere.
When asked by Auto Bild whether Audi is sticking to the "E-Tron" suffix, Duesmann said it won't be dropped. Archrival Mercedes is seeing things differently as a recent report states the three-pointed star is planning to gradually abandon EQ branding with new electric vehicles coming from 2024. BMW will use "i" for the foreseeable future to distinguish its EVs from petrol/diesel models.
Meanwhile, the A4 successor is scheduled to debut later this year. The A6 is due for a facelift soon, so it could be renamed A7 as early as 2024 or 2025 unless Audi is waiting for the next-gen car. The flagship A8 will keep its moniker for the next-generation model arriving late next year because it'll be sold strictly as an electric vehicle.
No fewer than 20 new cars will be launched in the next two years, with over half of them doing away with the combustion engine. Duesmann has confirmed one of them will slot below the Q4 E-Tron to serve as Audi's entry-level EV, presumably a compact hatchback as an electric A3 but on a dedicated platform.