With the current Audi A4 having just received its mid-cycle update, attention now turns to the next generation of the small luxury sedan.

While there were reports circulating a couple of years back that the new A4, due around 2022 or 2023, could move to the MQB platform found in cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3, Automobile reported last week that Audi's board has decided to go with the more premium MLB design used in almost every Audi sized from the current A4 up.

According to the magazine's anonymous sources, the proportions of proposed designs based on the MQB platform developed by Audi design chief Marc Lichte and his team were too similar to the A3. Allegedly, a short dash to axle ratio resulted in the nose being too stubby.

Sticking with the MLB platform, which despite being a front-wheel-drive platform features longitudinal mounting of the engine, just like in a rear-wheel-drive car, would require a longer front section. The result would be a design closer to a scaled down version of the handsome A6, also MLB-based.

However, Audi will still need to reduce costs as it funds costly electrification and self-driving car programs. According to the same Automobile report, Audi could drop the entire A5 family. The flagship A8 could also move to the platform found in the Porsche Panamera and Bentley Flying Spur, unless of course Audi goes the battery-electric route, which is yet to be decided. In the case of the latter, the A8 could be rebranded an A9 e-tron and developed alongside a Q9 e-tron flagship SUV. Both battery-electric models would be based on the PPE modular EV platform being developed by Audi and Porsche and due to spawn its first model in 2021.