In 2015, the new Mercedes C-Class will have to face competition from the all new Audi A4 and the facelift of BMW 3 Series.
2015 is an important year for middle class premium saloons. Audi will launch the new generation A4 meanwhile BMW prepare a facelift for the 3 Series launched in 2012.
These are the very first spy-shots of a prototype for the next-generation ‘B9’ Audi A4 sedan, which is currently expected to be revealed in the summer of 2015, as a 2016 model. It will be followed about a year later by its A4 Avant and A4 Allroad variants, and will for the first time offer some alternative drivetrains. Audi was originally due to launch its new A4 at the end of this year but a late change in its design meant the vehicle’s release date needed to be pushed back. The size of the new A4 appears to be similar to that of the current model, but it appears the new one will have a wider rear track and a more coupe-like roofline.
The 2016 A4 will be Audi’s second model to ride on the next-generation version of the MLB (modular longitudinal) platform, which will eventually underpin most of the automaker’s models from the A4 up. Previewed in Audi’s Sport quattro concept, the latest MLB platform, nicknamed the MLB Evo, uses a combination of ultrahigh-strength steel, aluminium and even some composites to help get weight down. Look for weight savings of around 100 kilograms compared to the current A4. The first vehicle we’ll see it in is the 2015 Q7.
Front-wheel drive will remain standard for the 2016 A4 while quattro all-wheel drive will continue to be offered as an option. The front suspension will be a five link construction, while the rear suspension should be based on the self-tracking trapezoidal link principle coveted by Audi.
One of the key benefits of the latest MLB Evo platform is that it has been designed to be compatible with alternative drivetrains. Plans include natural gas versions and Plug-In Hybrid versions. It is not clear at this point if Audi will resurrect its RS 4 badge for the new A4 sedan (the current RS 4 is only available as an Avant wagon). Transmissions are likely to include six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch units.
Despite the fact the current generation BMW 3 Series is on the market since 2012 only, BMW is yet working on a mild facelift for the most important model in the line-up. Though there will be a few visible changes to the exterior – like a new front bumper with modified air-intakes and optional full-LED headlights instead of Xenon lamps – the majority of modifications will be under the bonnet:
When introducing the updated 3 Series, BMW will offer the all-new range of engines which is based on the 500 cc cylinder and include three and four cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
The three cylinder units with a displacement of 1.5 litre which are avaialble already in new MINI, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and i8, will be offered also for 3 Series, 5 Series and future X1. In addition to the new engine-range, the 2015 BMW 3 Series will be given new or updated driver assistance systems and comfort features such as the traffic-jam assistant known from the 5 Series.