Here's what's safe and what's not.
As automakers continue to adapt their respective lineups to focus more on crossovers, debates arise over which sedans and coupes could receive the death sentence. GM's philosophy is simple, for example: if it doesn't sell, it's gone. Examples include the Impala, Volt, and Cruze. Ford, meanwhile, killed its car lineup entirely, save for the Mustang. Even luxury brands are not immune.
Automobile Magazine's European editor, Georg Kacher, long known for getting the inside scoop, has learned new details regarding Audi's future car lineup. First up is the A4. This long-running BMW 3 Series fighter will stick around and the next-generation model, due in 2022 or 2023, will continue to ride on Audi's MLB platform instead of switching to parent company Volkswagen's MQB setup, a move that was projected to save "more than $1 billion over the A4's life cycle."
So why stick with MLB? Because of Audi design boss Marc Lichte. A member of Audi's product strategy committee described it as such:
"What opened everyone's eyes were Mark Lichte's design proposals. The MQB-based models looked okay thanks to short overhangs, a long wheelbase, and a big trunk. But their proportions were clearly those of front-wheel-drive cars with a dash-to-axle ratio similar to the A3. The MLB-derived B10 proposal - which received standing ovations - also has a short front overhang, but there is significantly more meat between the bumper and windscreen, which makes the next A4 look like a shorter and sportier A6."
Based on what know of Lichte's work, which includes the stunning e-tron GT, the next A4 looks to finally receive the design attention it's long needed. Unfortunately, the future of other Audi models isn't looking so bright, with the A5 coupe, cabriolet, and Sportback living on borrowed time. All are based on the A4.
Even the A7 and A8 could be facing the chopping block, surprisingly. Sources say it's possible the next A3 and A5 convertibles, assuming they both survive, could merge to the MQB platform. The A5 Sportback and A7, however, are likely to be replaced by an MLB-based single model. What about the A8 flagship sedan? If the green light is given for a redesign, it will likely borrow its platform and most of its components from the Porsche Panamera.
Audi's product planners, however, are instead seriously considering a new A9 flagship and Q9 e-tron grand coupe based on the all-electric PPE platform. We're not entirely sure how that would fit in with the upcoming e-tron GT, but given that BMW is also reportedly seriously considering dropping the standard length 7 Series (as well as other models) for the long-wheelbase variant only, we wouldn't be surprised to see Audi make some sort of big A8-related decision fairly soon.