A fanatical desire to cut weight will see Audi shave up to 100kg off the next A5 and offer a radical lightweight Ultra pack that’ll save even more kilos. The fat loss will help the A5 compete with BMW’s imminent 4-series on handling when the Audi arrives in early 2015, followed by the cabriolet six months later and five-door Sportback in early 2016.
Fuel economy also benefits from the cut in kilos, without Audi needing to downsize engines to 1.4-litre level. Instead a detuned 2.0-litre petrol turbo with 177bhp will kick off the petrols, with a 197bhp 2.0-litre TDI taking the majority of diesel sales.
A 100kg diet? That's a lot of effort for a niche coupe model...
Audi has made a big success of the A4 spin-off, which first launched as a coupe in 2007. Last year sales of the three A5 models topped 64,000 in Europe, a little under half what the top-selling A4 managed. Not bad for a niche model.
Skinned with a subtle evolution of Walter de Silva’s original design, the new car will attempt to put right the current car’s reputation for numb handling. The Ultra pack aims to trade weight for agility by using smaller, lighter engine ancilliaries, hollow-spoke wheels and aluminum panels. By doing this, Audi will lose none of the luxury features that usually have to be sacrificed in lightweight ‘Cup’ specials.
Which engines will be available in the 2015 Audi A4?
The A5 has never lacked for power options and the new car is expected to stick with the theme of intelligent muscle by also offering a 227bhp 2.0-litre TFSI turbo, with the S5 making 340bhp from its turbocharged V6 (up from 328bhp). Its 0-60mph sprint time will be cut to 4.5 seconds.
The RS5 coupe and cabriolet will be back, of course, but this time with a 475bhp twin-turbocharged V6 instead of the naturally aspirated 444bhp V8 of the current model. All the V6 engines, including the 272bhp 3.0-litre V6 TDI, will be mated to a new eight-speed twin-clutch gearbox.
Audi will almost certainly fit the planned E-tron plug-in hybrid tech from the A4, to give the A5 an electric range of around 30 miles before the 225bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine kicks in.