2015 Audi A4: Audi’s Next Most Important Model

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    WHAT IT IS

    The next generation of Audi’s most important model, the globally successful A4. It will be sold as a sedan; a long-wheelbase mini-limo for China; a so-called Avant station wagon for Europe; and the Allroad, a wagon on SUV stilts. There also will be S and RS derivatives offering more power.

    WHY IT MATTERS

    In the Lord of the Flies fight for sales and engineering supremacy among Germany’s carmakers, the A4 is Audi’s sharpest stick. With aggressive styling and a full set of advanced technologies, the next-gen A4 (platform code: B9) must be able to fend off a phalanx of competitors.

    PLATFORM

    Second-generation MLB (not baseball, but modular-longitudinal architecture), which is related to the next A6,A8, and VW Phaeton. Lightweight and full of electronic features, it will offer front- or four-wheel drive.

    POWERTRAIN

    In Europe, the Audi A4 comes with a full range of gas and diesel four- and six-cylinder engines. The U.S. market will get a revised 2.0-liter turbo and a diesel engine. S4 models will get a supercharged V-6, and the RS4 might get a V-8 again.

    COMPETITION

    Acura TLXBMW 3-seriesCadillac ATSInfiniti Q50Lexus ISMercedes-Benz C-class.

    WHAT MIGHT GO WRONG

    Audi’s once-futuristic styling is now often criticized as too conservative. The A4 needs to establish a new design motif without scaring off existing buyers.

    ESTIMATED ARRIVAL AND PRICE

    Europe will get it later this year as a 2015 model. We’ll have to wait until 2015 to buy one. The A4 should open at $35,000.