Audi's A4 just received some minor tweaks for 2019 but a more substantial update is on the way for the car's mid-cycle refresh, as evidenced by the recent sighting of a prototype for an updated A4 Avant wagon.

The current A4 was introduced for the 2017 model year so we will likely see the updated one introduced for 2021. A debut could happen in late 2019 or early the following year.

While the updated wagon isn't destined for sale in the United States, we should see similar updates on the A4 sedan and A4 Allroad soft-roader.

The headlights are new and no longer feature the teardrop element of the current A4 headlights. The front grille is also wider and lower than on the current A4, while at the rear is a new diffuser design with reflectors that appear to be integrated with the diffuser instead of sitting above it like on the current model.

2021 Audi A4 Avant facelift spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2021 Audi A4 Avant facelift spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

There's no clear shot of the cabin but inside, the dashboard could be redesigned so that the infotainment screen is integrated within the center stack instead of tacked on to the top of the dash like in the current A4. We might also see the controls for the climate settings switch from physical knobs to a touchscreen interface like in the A6 and A8, though physical controls could remain if Audi goes with a design similar to the one used in the A1 Sportback.

The base powertrain should be a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 matching the current A4's 190- (A4 Ultra) and 252-horsepower outputs. However, an A4 e-tron plug-in hybrid is expected to finally join the range to plug the gap between the regular A4 and sporty S4.

The S4, as well as the RS 4 Avant sold overseas, should receive similar updates. And eventually we'll also see the updates on the related A5 range.

Sadly, a manual transmission will no longer be offered in any Audi after the 2018 model year runs its course. Audi has confirmed that 2018 is the last year that it will offer cars with a third pedal. A special run of A4 Ultrasport sedans was announced to mark the end of the era.