New Audi A5 Sportback and Avant come into focus, plus hot S5 variants
A change of tactic is coming for Audi’s next generation compact executive range
The Audi A4, as we know, is about to become a thing of the past as the German marque prepares to rearrange its compact executive range in the wake of its forthcoming EV model launch bonanza. As part of a massive Audi-wide shake up, the petrol-powered A4 saloon and Avant will soon be succeeded by the A5 Sportback and a new A5 Avant, with the A4 moniker to be reserved for an all-electric A4 e-tron model that’s due in the next few years.
This move will see the current A4 and A5 ranges amalgamated into one, with the A5 Coupe and Convertible also being sacrificed as its combustion range is rationalised as the EV range grows. Due in just a few months, the new A5 Sportback and Avant will be launched alongside a new S5 Sportback and S5 Avant, the former of which has been spied here in a late-prototype phase in its development.
Moving forward, all Audi models with an odd-number in the name will be powered by a combustion powertrain, whether that be pure IC or hybridised, with all future EV models to feature even numbers.
New A5 Sportback and Avant
As well as adhering to the new naming structure, the new A5 range will reflect the sportier styling that’s still inspired by the first A5 Coupe penned by former Audi design boss Walter de Silva in 2008. This much can already be seen on the prototypes, with a sleek silhouette and low roofline that gives it more of a four-door coupe feel than the previous three-box A4.
New design elements, such as a slimmer grille set lower down in the front bumper will be matched to slim lighting with complex LED elements inside as well as large wheel sizes, sleek surfacing and the introduction of new near-flush door handles. Both the Sportback and Avant will have steeply raked rear screens and a rear light bar.
The interior will be totally reimagined for the new A5, debuting a far more contemporary interior layout dominated by a new generation of digital interfaces. Physical controls will be kept to a minimum, but the functionality of key controls surrounding the air-conditioning and driver assistance systems are understood to be much easier to access than in early VW Group products that have had some level of criticism in regards to their user-friendliness.
The next A5 will stay on the same MLB underpinnings as the current model, but it’ll be powered by a line-up of new combustion engines which Audi’s Chief Technical Officer, Oliver Hoffman, describes as “the best [the company] has ever launched”.
Most of the line-up will be based around an updated version of the Volkswagen Group’s omnipresent EA888 turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Improvements will include new variable-section turbochargers that claim to improve throttle response and a higher-pressure fuel injection system.
Electrification will play a key role in the A5 range, too. The petrol engine will be offered with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology at the lower end of the line-up and full-blown plug-in hybrid technology towards the upper end of the range. The latter option will probably use the same 14.4kWh battery pack and electric motor as other MLB models, such as the Q5.
Diesel power will also remain, although it’ll probably play second fiddle to Audi’s new-look line-up of electrified petrol engines. The bulk of the diesel range should be based around the same 201bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit also found in the Q5 SUV.
S5 Sportback and Avant
The current S4 made the switch from petrol to diesel in 2019, using a mild-hybridised turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 producing 342bhp and offering 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds. Despite a sharp reduction in diesel sales, the new S5 will continue to offer this powertrain, majoring on effortless cruising and impressive economy.
Prototypes of the new S5 Sportback and Avant reveal a design that will be almost identical to S-Line versions of the A5, but feature the few S-specific styling elements including the typical quad exhaust finishers. Audi Sport will eventually bring out much hotter RS versions, with both utilising plug-in hybrid powertrains to generate the extra grunt expected of a performance flagship.
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