With Mercedes unveiling the new C-Class Estate and the facelifting BMW 3 Series Touring, Audi will follow suit with the next-generation A4 Avant. The heavily camouflaged prototype rocking the dual exhaust was caught by our spies who tested it along with the RS6. A closer look at the top left corner of the rear windshield reveals a green PHEV sticker that reveals the electrification nature of the vehicle. Interestingly, our spies told us the car was “very loud”.
The vehicle in question may already be an early test mule of the RS4, but without the prominent fenders. On top of that, it also lacks the final taillights while the brakes don’t look big enough for an Audi Sport model. There must be a logical explanation as to why the camouflaged prototype was followed by the RS6 Avant, and there’s a good chance the smaller wagon will also be of the RS variety. However, it is difficult to know for sure.
This might come as a surprise to some, but Four Rings officially confirmed the next-gen RS4 would be a hybrid almost three years ago. The Peek from Ingolstadt refrained from going into any details, only saying that the show car would be a PHEV. Your guess is as good as ours as to whether the V6 will be kept, but our money is on a streamlined four-pot in the same vein as the upcoming AMG C63.
Meanwhile, the four spy shots at the end of our gallery show a different prototype from the inside. The in-progress A4 appears to have a final dashboard layout with a wide digital instrument cluster and large tablet-like infotainment. With touchscreens getting so big, it’s been difficult for automakers to neatly integrate displays into dashboards, so we ended up with this less cohesive setup.
There may be rows of buttons hiding under the screen and above the central air vent, but most of the vehicle’s functions have been built into the touchscreen. It becomes clear if you look at the bottom of the screen where there are shortcuts for climate control settings. Audi has reconfigured the lower center console by removing the large gear lever for a much more compact rocker switch. There were two cup holders to the right of them, but here they were occupied by testing equipment.
Elsewhere, the touch-sensitive steering wheel appears to be taken from the Q4 E-Tron and offers shift paddles behind it. Some of the plastics look a bit cheap, but that’s only because we’re dealing with prototypes. The production-ready Audi A4 Avant will have a much more luxurious interior, although the large screen affixed to the dashboard will be a deterrent to some.
The last A4 with a combustion engine is expected to go on sale in 2023, with the spicy S derivative and the RS4 likely to be launched in 2024. Further ahead, Audi may also do a fully electric RS4 on a dedicated PPE platform that will soon debut with the Q6 E electric crossover. -Tron and Porsche Macan.