Audi A4 (2015) first test mule for lighter new A4 spied

Published: 28 April 2014

Audi’s next A4 will hit the roads in 2015, with less weight, a stiffer body, and the best chance yet of outgunning its BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-class rivals.

This looks like the old Audi A4…

It is. This is a test mule, cunningly hiding running gear for the 2015 A4 under the current car’s bodyshell. The inflated, riveted wheelarches hint that the new car will run a wider front and rear tracks, but the overall footprint of the A4 saloon isn’t likely to change much from today’s ‘B8’-model’s familiar shape.

What about engines?

Spotted the untrimmed tailpipes of this test mule? This A4 is potentially a test bed for the next A4’s headline new powertrain: a hybrid E-quattro system that uses electric motors to spin the rear wheels.

With the plug-in hybrid Audi A3 e-tron already on sale, and e-tron versions of the current A6 and new Q7 already confirmed, the A4 e-tron is the next – and one of the most vital – pieces of Audi’s hybrid future.

Otherwise, there’ll be a 2.0 diesel good for 150bhp, 180bhp or 200bhp, or a choice of 1.8-litre or 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines. It’ll be a four-cylinder only line-up in the cooking A4 range – Audi boss Rupert Stadler said at the Beijing motor show that premium saloon customers still aren’t ready to accept a three-cylinder engine in their executive express, even if it’s turbocharged heavily enough to produce healthy performance.

Will the new Audi A4 be more fun to drive?

The clues look promising – and it’s thanks to another trick VW Group platform. Not the MQB underpinnings this time – that’s reserved for the Audi A3 and new TT. Instead, the A4 will sit on the new MLB Evo platform, which is mooted to shed 100kg of weight versus the outgoing A4.

Plus, a jump in overall stiffness gives the new A4’s engineers to chance to dial in more incisive handling (at last), as the A4 plays catch up to the lighter new C-class, which has dropped as much as 110kg in its latest form.

Anything else?

Inside, the A4 should follow the lead set by the latest TT, migrating the main infotainment screen into the instrument binnacle and minimising the overall button count. An estate ‘Avant’ model will arrive around 12 months into the car’s life cycle, and there’ll also be related A5 two-door and Sportback derivatives.