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If you can’t beat them, join them. Ingolstadt certainly takes to that adage, as German specialist site Automobil Produktion reports that there will be a new A4-based spinoff named the Audi A4 Vario to rival the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. The source suggests a 2016 launch, two years after the current Audi A4 (pictured here) is replaced by an all-new model come next year.

It will use an extended version of the next A4’s platform – likely the same one used in the Chinese-market long-wheelbase variant. Little else is known about the future model, but if it’s targeting the F34 3-er GT it will probably have the same basic concept – large and tall hatchback styling with a more spacious/luxurious rear cabin than the standard sedan or Avant.

We’ve already reported that the next-generation A4 is set for a big revamp; losing around 100 kg of weight with generous use of aluminium and magnesium and gaining plenty of updated technology and features. Plug-in hybrid powertrain will be on offer too, much like that of the A3 Sportback e-tron that will go on sale later this year.