Spy shots

New 2023 Audi S5 spied as hot V6 estate

The Audi A4 will adopt the A5 moniker for its next generation, as the firm’s line-up splits between ICE power and electric cars

Audi is set to embark on its biggest product launch in history in the coming years, with a raft of electric cars arriving alongside new combustion-engined models. Of the latter, a new 3-series rivalling saloon will emerge wearing the A5 nameplate, rather than A4, as part of a revised naming scheme that will see EVs adopt even-numbered badges, with odd-numbers for ICE cars.

Given the emphasis all manufacturers are putting on the development of bespoke electric vehicle model lines, the next A4 is expected to share its MLB Evo platform and powertrains in-large with the current generation, only with a further emphasis on electrification.

We’ve already spotted the new A5 testing in prototype form, and these latest spy shots provide our first glimpse at the S5 Avant which will square up against the BMW M340i Touring and Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake when it arrives later this year.

In this transitional period towards EVs, Audi is unlikely to offer a significant revamp under the bonnet of the next-generation car, which may adopt the same turbocharged 3-litre V6 diesel motor as the current S4. There is the potential for the S5 to ditch diesel power altogether, though, in which case a variant of the outgoing RS4's 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 could be employed.

A flagship RS5 Avant is expected to sit above the S5, with timing suggesting that the next generation model will almost certainly adopt plug-in hybrid powertrains. This will also be the last mid-sized RS estate in its traditional ICE-powered form, given the model’s European market focus and the current push towards electric propulsion.

As this prototype previews, the exterior design will be an evolution of Audi’s current design language, but with some key changes that should completely change the way many of the exterior elements sit. Firstly, the single frame grille appears to be significantly smaller than before – an unusual deviation from the current trend – and joined with a new lower opening.

The slim LED headlights that flank the new grille sit lower on the nose, leaving a significant gap between them and the leading edge of the bonnet which now sits entirely atop the front wings – this is another key difference to the clamshell that defines the current B9 generation. 

Audi also looks to be emphasising width around the wheel arches in a similar fashion to the current A3, so too the relative softness of the lights and windowline that are all a distinct contrast to the sharp detailing of the current model. As ever, the S version will be distinguished by beefier bumpers with quad-tailpipes nestled in the rear valance. Inside, there’s likely to be a new interior design theme that’ll move on significantly from the current generation. 

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