As part of the Audi annual conference, the Ingolstadt-based brand announced the new-generation A4 (pictured above in computer-generated guise) will debut this year, built upon a new iteration of the modular MLB 2 platform. It is expected the new model will be considerably lighter than its predecessor, with up to 100 kilograms of losses on some models.
The new-generation Audi A4 is expected to come with a range of new drivetrains - including small capacity turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, plug-in hybrid e-tron drivetrains, and possibly a full-electric version. As is Audi's prerogative, front- and all-wheel drive models are expected, and a new nine-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto is also rumoured to form a major part of the new model line-up.
Pictured: Current Q5
The very same underpinnings will also form the basis of the new-generation Q5, which could launch either at the 2016 Detroit auto show in January, or possibly at the Geneva motor show in March next year. Expect a similar approach for that model - less weight, new powertrains and a more aggressive look.
An all-new Q6 SUV, which according to some reports may be offered solely as an electric vehicle, is set to fill the gap above the new Q5, slotting below the Q7 (pictured below). The big Q8 SUV remains on the cards.
“The Q8 will come,” said Audi's head of technical development, Ulrich Hackenberg. “It will be something new, following designs established on the Prologue concept. It will be positioned as something more emotional and more sporty than the Q7. The Q7 will be a car for seven people, the Q8 will be more coupe-like.”
At the smaller end of the scale, the Audi Q3 has just been updated, and a new, even smaller model - the Audi Q1, the official sketch of which is seen below - will debut later next year, with the high-riding model set to offer a new entry point in to the Audi Q range of SUVs, and will be aimed at city buyers.
"The Audi Q1 will be the new entry-level model among our SUVs and will round out the portfolio at the bottom end as of 2016," said Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.
It is understood the model will be about the same size as the MQB-based A3 (we suspect the smaller three-door A3 is the reference point, here, as that model spans 4.23 metres long, where the A3 Sportback is 4.31m and the Q3 SUV measures 4.38m), and will borrow much of its technology and many of its drivetrains from the popular hatchback model.
Some reports are suggesting there could be a performance-focused SQ1 a few years down the track, while a plug-in hybrid e-tron variant also seems plausible.
Expect a higher ride height than the A3 (of course), as well as front- and all-wheel drive models. The Q1's design was reportedly mostly complete before the brand's new head of design, Marc Lichte, came on board, but he is said to have still been able to make his mark on the baby SUV.
Audi's aggressive growth plan is set to see its product portfolio expand from the current 52 models to more than 60 over the next five years.