The second generation of Audi’s handsome A5 is expected to arrive in time for the 2018 model year, which puts its showroom arrival sometime in the second half of 2017, although the car may end up being launched earlier that year. These are our first spy shots of a prototype for the car (earlier shots showed a test mule).
The shots show only evolutionary changes for the 2018 A5’s styling, with the most significant changes taking place at the front where the design team has given the car a slightly more aggressive look. A similar look is pegged for the 2017 A4, a prototype for which can be seen testing alongside the new A5 in some of the shots. Both cars ride on a common platform.
That platform is Audi’s latest MLB (modular longitudinal) platform, which will eventually underpin most Audi models from the A4 up. The first vehicle to utilize the platform, nicknamed the MLB Evo, is the 2016 Q7. Other MLB Evo-based models already spotted in the wild include this A5 as well as the aforementioned next-gen A4 and a next-gen A8 flagship.
Previewed in Audi’s Sport quattro concept from 2013, the new platform uses a combination of ultrahigh-strength steel, aluminum and even some composites to help get weight down. We could be seeing a weight-saving of up to 200 pounds in the 2018 A5. The Sport quattro concept also hints at the styling we can expect for the car.
Audi Sport Quattro Concept - 2013 Frankfurt Motor ShowEnlarge Photo
Current trim levels will carry over, with the base 2018 A5 continuing with a 2.0-liter TFSI engine, the S5 with a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and the RS 5 dropping its naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8 in favor of Audi’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter mill. Expect power on this latter variant to reside around the 475-horsepower mark.
Front-wheel drive will remain standard for the 2018 A5 while quattro all-wheel drive will continue to be offered as an option. The standard transmission should be an S tronic dual-clutch unit, possibly with eight forward gears. One of the key benefits of the latest MLB Evo platform is that it’s been designed to be compatible with alternative drivetrains. Look for a plug-in hybrid model, perhaps with a ‘through-the-road’ hybrid all-wheel-drive system (e-quattro in Audi-speak).
Tech goodies will include LED and laser headlights with Matrix beam capability, an advanced infotainment system with Wi-Fi, a head-up display, and semi-autonomous electronic driving aids.
The 2018 Audi A5 should be revealed sometime in 2016, with sales in Europe to commence before that year is out. A U.S. launch will take place the following year. Further down the track, new versions of the A5 Cabriolet and A5 Sportback will be launched, though once again only the former is expected here.