Audi appears set to streamline key areas of its massive model line-up, with some to be dropped, others to be consolidated and electrified.
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  • Reports out of Europe suggest the mid-sized A4 range will continue to ride on the Volkswagen Group's premium MLB architecture
  • Other Audi lines - the small A3 and medium A5 convertibles, and the A5 and A7 Sportback models - reported to be set for consolidation into just two models
  • Iconic A8 limousine may be set to make way for a new electrified A9, alongside new electric TT and R8 models

Audi A4 to continue on MLB platform

Proportions, looks and heritage seem to have allowed the Audi A4 to remain on the Volkswagen Group's more expensive MLB architecture.

Sources from Audi's product strategy committee have told Automobile the company has decided base its next-generation A4 on the Volkswagen Group's MLB longitudinal engine front- and all-wheel drive platform.

According to the magazine, Audi's belt tightening after the Dieselgate scandal broke into open threw its product planning into chaos.

Although the new A4 was already approved for the MLB platform, corporate bean counters pushed aggressively for the next-generation car to be shifted to the Volkswagen Group's cheaper MQB architecture, which features a transverse engine layout.

Such a move was projected to yield savings of around US$1 billion ($1.5 billion) over the model's lifecycle.

In the end, it's said, it was Mark Lichte’s design proposals for both MQB and MLB models which swayed the committee. While the design director's vision of an A4 on MQB looked decent, the MLB version "received standing ovations".

Audi A3 and A5 Convertibles, A5 Sportback and A7 Sportback to merge

While the A4's near-term future has been secured, other models may not be so lucky.

The magazine understands there are plans to merge the A3 and A5 convertibles into one MQB-based model, and consolidate the A5 Sportback and A7 Sportback into one five-door car.

A8 limo could be dropped in favour of an A9-badged EV, and...

The A8 could also be dropped for an electric A9 model.

In brighter news, there could also be electric successors to the TT and R8.