Despite confusing statements, Audi seems to know what it's doing.
Are you confused by Audi's statement that it plans to go all-electric by 2026? Don't worry, for you are not alone. Trying to figure out Audi's future plans is like attempting to win a game of Monopoly. After hours of research, you simply develop a nasty case of existential anxiety so bad that you start journaling.
Prepare to be confused even more, because Auto Express recently conducted an exclusive interview with Audi's head of technical development, Oliver Hoffman.
Therein, Hoffman talked about the new Audi A4, which will be based on a new generation of petrol and diesel engines. We were under the impression that Audi stopped internal combustion development, but there you go. In an attempt to explain the situation better, Audi released the helpful graph below.
But back to the new A4, which is expected to arrive in 2023. In addition to ICE powertrains, there will be mild and plug-in hybrids. Hoffman describes these engines as the best it has ever launched.
According to Hoffman, the A4 accounts for around a fifth of all Audi sales globally, so even though the humble sedan is dying out, there is still enough demand to keep on building the A4. "The development of the next generation of A4 is underway," says Hoffman. "We'll offer that car, and the A6, for a lot of years."
This correlates neatly with Audi's graph, which attempts to clarify a sweeping statement made by Audi's boss, Markus Duesman. The last new combustion engine will be launched in 2025, around two years after the arrival of the A4. The A4 will then follow its typical seven-year lifecycle, after which Audi will be fully or nearly EV only.
While Hoffman mentioned a diesel model, Dieselgate ensured that Audi would never sell another diesel car in the USA again. The US-bound A4s will most likely make use of the VW group's 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol engine.
It's rumored that VW is currently tinkering with the EA888 engine by including higher pressure fuel injection and possibly introducing variable-section turbines in the turbocharger. This engine, as used in the GTI, is already a peach. Now imagine what it would be like if Audi added an electric motor to the rear axle. The combination of that powerful turbocharged four-pot and the instant torque provided by an electric motor could give the A4 enough low-down grunt to outsprint the current S4 sedan.
Audi is usually quite reserved for design, so we're expecting the traditional four-door sedan layout, possibly incorporating some of the design elements introduced by the Skysphere and Grandsphere concept cars.