Audi is bringing out the next generation of its compact executive car this year with fresh design and new technology
These latest images give us our best look yet at the new A5 Avant and suggest a full reveal of Audi’s BMW 3 Series rival isn’t too far away. Despite the increasing range of Q-badged SUVs, Audi’s compact executive car will remain an important part of its portfolio – even if this new model won’t come with an all-electric e-tron variant.
From our previous spy shots of the upcoming A5 Avant and sportier S5 Avant model, we already have a good idea as to how the new car will look. It will adopt an evolutionary design based on the outgoing model with a sharp, clean look.
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The A4 compact executive car that we know today will take on the A5 name for saloon and Avant models, as Audi’s even number cars move to full-electric powertrains. An example of this is the upcoming A6 will become A7 with the upcoming A6 e-tron set to provide the EV alternative.
This test car is in production bodywork so despite the comprehensive camouflage we can see the front radiator grille will be narrower, joined by a set of aggressively shaped headlights. Side air intakes feature beneath and there’s a wide lower grille.
The surfacing along the sides of the A5 is cleaner, without the razor-sharp creases of recent Audis. The test car has diamond-cut alloy wheels and at the back this is the first time we’ve seen production-ready rear lights. They look similar to the ones found on the current A3.
We’ve also seen the sporty S5 Avant version testing. The overall styling is not too far removed from the standard model (likely to make room for the range-topping RS5 performance car). There’s a new honeycomb-shaped grille insert, larger wheels, a beefy brake setup and a quad-exit exhaust system.
The hot RS5 version of this car could be one of the last petrol-powered performance estates as Audi looks to launch its final internal combustion models by 2026.
Previous spy shots have also given us a peek at the A5’s interior. The latest version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit gets a larger unshrouded driver’s display behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel (a round wheel will probably feature in the standard models).
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While much of the cabin remains hidden, we’re expecting a new dashboard with fewer physical controls. There will be a standalone central screen sitting on the dash and it looks like the centre console has been redesigned with new toggle gear selectors. It’s almost certain the new A5 will only be available with an automatic gearbox.
New 2023 Audi A5 to stick with petrol and diesel power
The biggest changes will happen under the skin, though. 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 head of technical development, 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.
The current S4 made the switch from petrol to diesel in 2019, using a 3.0-litre, turbocharged V6 producing 342bhp and offering 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds. The new car will certainly produce more power but whether or not it’ll retain the diesel powertrain remains to be seen.
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Audi could also launch a pure-electric version of the A5 Avant later in the car’s life cycle – likely to be badged A4 e-tron, which would give the brand something of an edge over the competition. None of the current A4’s main rivals have been offered as pure-electric estates. The focus in this class is currently on saloons, as shown by the BMW i4 and Tesla Model 3.
However, if it does materialise, the pure-electric A4 e-tron will probably move to a different platform, because the MLB underpinnings aren’t set up for EV powertrains. It’s probably use a modified version of the PPE chassis that will sit under the upcoming A6 e-tron.
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