The future may be electric in Ingolstadt, but there's still time left for one final wave of performance cars carrying the fabled Four Rings. No, we're not talking about the TT and R8 as both are being retired without direct replacements in sight. Meanwhile, the silver lining is a few spicy models with S and RS badges are on the way to serve as the ICE's swan song. One of them was just spotted by our spies temporarily based in northern Europe.
Rumored to transition to the S5 Avant moniker (confusing, we know), the hot luxury wagon was caught up close and personal looking virtually ready for production. As we've seen with prototypes of the regular A4 Avant successor, it had the final headlights and taillights as well as all the body panels. Being an S variant, it's hard to miss the quad exhaust tips, which in this case are flanking a tow bar.
Audi S4 Avant successor spy photos
The smaller front grille is a nice change of pace and we're hoping future Audi models will follow suit. It's now separated from the lower air intake and it looks as though the Quattro-esque horizontal slat above the grille is gone. This prototype appeared to have intricate matrix LED headlights along with vertical air curtains in the corners of the bumper.
The new S4/S5 Avant is shaping up to be a handsome performance wagon and should look even better with skinnier tires, larger wheels, and the typically red brake calipers. Once again, our car paparazzi have captured the wagon, with no spy shots whatsoever of the sedan in S or standard guise.
Some claim Audi's yet-to-be-confirmed decision to transition the A4 to the A5 lineup will come along with the sedan's discontinuation. Presumably, because there already is an A5 Sportback, but nothing is official at this point. With the crossover and SUV craze, the accountants might have crunched the numbers and determined it's just not worth keeping both the A4 Sedan and A5 Sportback. Time will tell.
Another missing piece of the puzzle is represented by the powertrain. Will it retain the 3.0-liter V6 engine? With AMG putting a 2.0-liter four-pot in the C63 Estate, it's understandable to be worried about the possibility of a downsized engine for the S4 Avant replacement. Some form of electrification is expected, at least a mild-hybrid 48V system if not a PHEV setup.
Either way, it'll be the last of its kind with a combustion engine since Audi will launch only electric vehicles from 2026. It has already announced plans to end production of ICE-powered cars in 2033, with a possible exception in China depending on local demand.