What is seen here is possibly the all-new Audi A4 due in the UK by September 2007 , as well as making its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2007. Based on the new B8 platform - first used in the new A5/S5 coupe - the key technical features of this new challenger to BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are a radical new drivetrain and front suspension design that promises better (read: more equitable) front:rear weight distribution.
With the B8 platform, the engine still sits longitudinally ahead of the front axle...but Audi engineers have placed the front differential between the engine and the transmission, effectively shifting the weight of the engine rearwards. The front driveshafts are also angled slightly towards the front of the car and supported by a new five link suspension system. As an example seen in the new A5, this new - albeit pricey - front wheel drivetrain solution means the front axle centreline, is some 12cm further forward than the current B7-based A4.
More significantly, the new B8-based A4 in AWD Quattro configuration - as claimed by Audi AG engineers - promises similar handling characteristics to a conventional RWD vehicle.
Speculated engine range of the Audi A4 B8 should include the new 1.8L turbocharged TFSI engine in two different state of tunes (130 and 160bhp), the superb 2.0 TFSI (200bhp), a 2.4 V6 FSI with 177bhp , the 3.2 V6 FSI with 260bhp, a 2.0 TDI turbo-diesel engine in 3 stages of tweaks (115-150-170bhp), a 2.7 V6 TDI that punches out 190bhp and finally the 3.0 V6 TDI boosted to 250bhp (from 233bhp).
In the course of evolution, the replacements S4 and RS4 will be upgraded too: the 4.2L V8 of the S4 will uprate from 344 to 360bhp, while the 4.2L V8 of the RS4 will go manic from 420 to 450bhp! It looks like BMW E92 M3 and Mercedes-Benz W204 C63 AMG will not have it so easy in 2008.
Pictured below is the new Audis S5 and subsequently the A5, from which most of the design cues of the all-new A4 are to be taken from. However, the boring rectangular healights are expected to be ditched in favour of the more shapely ones depicted above.
A reliable source from Euromobil Malaysia have indicated that the all-new Audi A4 2.0TFSI (and likely 1.8TFSI) will be making it into the local Audi showrooms only by Q3/Q4 2008.