Times are changing at Audi, but for a little while you’ll still be able to get internal-combustion versions of the A4 and S4. Actually, scratch that – combustion-powered models are now called the A5 and S5, and as far as anyone can tell, they will only be sold in wagon or Sportback configuration. Name change aside, both versions look capable of delivering some excitement behind the wheel, as seen in this recent batch of spy shots from Germany.
It’s a tad ironic that the performance-oriented S5 was caught on public roads while the standard A5 was snapped carving up the Nurburgring. Of course, both versions see plenty of laps at the Green Hell, but the A5 is the one demonstrating its grip this time. We wouldn’t blame you if you thought it might actually be an S5, as it’s wearing an aggressive wheel/tire combo that also reveals some impressive brakes. However, the rear clearly shows rectangular exhaust outlets, whereas the S5 sports quad oval finishers.
Seeing both prototypes in one photo set also helps us spot minor design differences between them. Look at the front and you’ll notice differences in the camouflage wrap on the lower fascia. The A5 has a bottom vent with triangular edges that slope down, whereas the S5 slopes up sharply. Vertical corner vents are also more prominent on the S5, but both vehicles appear to have production-spec components. As well they should – we’ve been watching prototypes for over a year now.
Aside from the name change, in that time we’ve clearly heard prototypes with both four-cylinder V6 soundtracks. At this time, we think the S5 will carry on with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, but it’s possible a version of the twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter six-pot from the RS 4 could be offered. Meanwhile, the A5 is expected to continue using the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, though our sources believe all models will feature mild hybrid systems. Beyond that, plug-in hybrid models are expected, too.
Exactly where the new A5 will be offered isn’t confirmed yet. Presently, only the current-gen A4 / S4 sedans are sold in North America, along with the higher-riding A4 Allroad. Recent spy photos of the A5 Sportback show another version on the way, but it’s believed the next-gen A4 sedan will be an electric-only affair.
We will know for sure later this year when Audi removes all the camo wrap for a global debut.