If these spy photos are anything to go by, the design of the next-generation Audi A4 will have a strong sporting emphasis.

At the front, the new A4 features a wider but significantly shorter single-frame grille, which has more than a little hint of the soon-to-be-departed R8.

Complementing the new grille design are sharp, angular headlights, and a prominent lower air intake.

Like the current car, this A4 Avant prototype has a sharp crease above the rear wheel arch that fades out, a design feature which has become a staple on recent Audi vehicles, including the Q4 e-tron electric crossover.

Given this car’s hunkered down stance, it could be an S or S-Line model.

At the rear, the tail-lights are slimmer than before, but the use of aftermarket lighting units makes it impossible to guess what the graphics will look like.

The next Audi A4 might be the last to feature petrol and diesel engines, with the company planning to cease the sale of cars with internal combustion engines outside of China by 2033.

Although nothing’s been announced yet, a plug-in hybrid A4 is likely given the EU’s tight emissions targets, and the presence of PHEV options in the latest BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class ranges.

With the Volkswagen Group investing heavily in a number of EV-specific architectures, we expect the new A4 to use an updated version of the existing MLB Evo platform.

Although our spy photography agency only saw the A4 wagon, the next-generation range should include a sedan, as well as a lifted and off-road-flavoured Allroad variant.

MORE: Everything Audi A4

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