Audi, Forget the A4 Replacement Go Straight for the Sportback

I have almost come to terms with the fact that we are probably not getting any Avants here in the US. This is a sad realization, but we have been through it a million times, "Wagons don't sell." But you know what does sell? Four-door coupe thingies! Not only do they sell, but people will pay MORE for a 4 door version of a coupe that already has a sedan counterpart. Pure madness!

Audi, Forget the A4 Replacement Go Straight for the Sportback

We can all agree BMW's Grand Coupe thing has gotten out of control, but BMW will sell the pants off these. In terms of other 4 door coupes, Mercedes has sold more than eight thousand CLS models and a whopping 14 thousand CLAs in '13. It should be mentioned that the CLA was only on sale for 4 months. Of course the main explanation for those numbers is the lower cost of entry compared to most Mercedes models. However, If Audi wants to stay in the game they need to answer and answer fast. The answer is simple: A5 Sportback.

The A7 does fairly well selling at about 8500 units in '13 but it is quite expensive and out of reach for a large portion of luxury buyers. If Audi can move over 18k A5 coupes last year, I see no reason why they couldn't break 20-25k units on the Sportback.

Audi, Forget the A4 Replacement Go Straight for the Sportback

Throw in some oil-burning motor options in addition to the S/RS variants and Audi is bound to have another home run on their hands. As a very vocal wagon fanatic that clamors for more long-roofs every chance I get, I think I could "settle" for Sportback with a 2.0T and Quattro. Throw in a 3-pedal option and you have me sold! Yes, I know the S/RS variants would be so much cooler, but I am realistic on what my budget could handle.

Now, if Audi really wants to drop a bomb they won't do what BMW did and make a 4 door coupe that is more expensive than the 2-door version. They should forget the A4 sedan and bring the A5 Sportback into the A4 price range. With the A3 will handling the entry level sedan sales, the A5 Sportback would then undercut the 4 Grand Coupe while at the same time do battle with the next generation C-class, which by the way, is riding the line between sedan and 4-door coupe.

Audi, Forget the A4 Replacement Go Straight for the Sportback

I realize this scenario is unlikely and if we do get the Sportback here in the US pricing it will probably be in line with the 4 Grand Coupe. But if Audi wants to put serious dent in the sales numbers of their competition they would be wise not to play the same game.

What say you readers…. should the A5 Sportback replace the A4? Do direct battle with the 4 Grand Coupe? Or stay on the other side of the ocean?

@AutomatchTom is a professional car buying consultant, lover of all things automotive and a bit wagon obsessed. You can find more ramblings and plenty of carporn here.


(Lead image via tbrake.com, A5 Sportback via Auto GeSpot, 4 series Grand Coupe and C-class via Jalopnik. All sales figures via GoodCarBadCar.net)