The launch of the sixth-generation Audi A4 is nearing, and our photographers have spied yet another member of the wider A4 range.

    Our photographers believe this latest spot is the sporty Audi S4, following previously spied A4 prototypes and an RS4 mule.

    All have been spied testing in Avant guise, with Audi being one of the more wagon-friendly brands in the luxury space.

    Given the current generation of A4 first debuted back in 2015 and was facelifted in 2019, it’s at the very end of its life cycle. A reveal of the new generation will likely take place this year.

    The S4 is distinguished from the lesser A4 by its quad exhaust outlets. This prototype appears to wear production headlights, but the tail lights are dummy units for now.

    Previous photos have revealed the wider A4 family will continue to use a large, tablet-style, landscape-oriented central touchscreen, which will now subsume the climate controls.

    It’s unclear what will power the S4. The current model uses a turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 produces 260kW of power and 500Nm of torque, though in Europe it’s offered with a turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel V6 with 251kW and 700Nm and a 48V mild-hybrid system.

    The upcoming RS4 will reportedly use a plug-in hybrid twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6, so some form of electrification for the S4 seems likely.

    Less performance-oriented plug-in hybrids are expected to be offered in the A4 range, as can be found in the rival Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series model ranges.

    While Mercedes-Benz has moved to an entirely four-cylinder powertrain line-up for its rival C-Class line-up and its AMG variants, Audi may continue to offer sixes for its performance models.

    BMW does the same, offering only four-cylinder engines in its 3 Series but sixes in its M3 range.

    The next A4, S4 and RS4 are expected to use an updated version of the existing MLB Evo platform, and might be the last to feature combustion engines.

    Audi is planning to cease the sale of cars with internal combustion engines outside of China by 2033.

    Sedan versions of the A4, S4 and RS4 have yet to be spied. It would be unusual if Audi didn’t produce a traditional three-box body style, but it does currently offer a related A5, S5 and RS5 Sportback and sister brand Volkswagen is understood to be dropping its Passat sedan in favour of a wagon-only line-up.

    Audi sold just 535 examples of the wider A4 range in Australia in 2022, including the high-riding allroad wagon, which was scarcely more than the 387 examples it sold of the related A5 Sportback.

    BMW, in contrast, sold 2818 examples of its 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz sold 3566 C-Class sedans.

    MORE: Everything Audi S4

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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