The second-generation Audi A7 was spotted for the first time in October last year, but that one was merely a chassis testing mule. Now, we are probably looking at a prototype carrying the production body, or at least some bits and pieces that will be found on the final car. From what we are seeing in the attached spy images, we are tempted to say the design is more of the same. However, it’s best we should reserve our final judgment until the car’s official reveal set to occur most likely in the second half of 2017 or early 2018.

While the model you see on the roads today stands out from the current crop of Audis mostly thanks to its distinctive rear end design, its replacement will feature a ‘more mainstream butt,’ according to a Car & Driver report from more than a year ago. The prototype spied from afar was wearing an extensive amount of camouflage, so it’s hard to say whether the four-door coupe’s derrière will lose its uniqueness.

The A7 along with the forthcoming A6 and A8 will be Audi’s first models to debut a new styling language derived from the rather stunning Prologue concept. It’s tricky at this point to notice any similarities, but at least we can see Audi does not have any plans to reduce the size of its massive singleframe grille. For what it’s worth, Audi’s design boss March Lichte, has promised the A7 is going to have the most radical styling of the three.

Ingolstadt’s second take on the A7 Sportback is making the switch to the MLB Evo platform which will enable a considerable weight loss, although exact details about the planned diet are scarce at the moment of writing. While the prototype doesn’t seem bigger when compared to the current model, the wheelbase could be stretched a little bit to create a more spacious interior with additional rear legroom.

As you would expect from a model positioned almost at the top of the food chain, the CLS / 6-Series Gran Coupe fighter will come with the best Audi has to offer in terms of technology and most likely the all-digital Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster is going to be standard across the range.

Some of the engines will be borrowed from the latest Q7, and it will be interesting to see whether the SQ7’s 4.0-liter V8 TDI featuring an electric powered compressor will serve as foundation for a hot diesel A7 derivative. With the Volkswagen Group’s plans for a green push, expect at least a hybridized version and we won’t be too surprised if further down the line there will be a pure electric model as well.

Gallery: 2018 Audi A7 Sportback spy photos