Audi begins work on Q9 flagship SUV
2nd Jul 2018 7:00 am
The upcoming Q8 will be followed by a range-topping Q9 to take on the most premium SUVs in the market.
Audi’s has decided to expand its SUV catalogue with the addition of a new Q9 model in the future.
Earlier this month, the automaker launched the Q8 as its flagship SUV in Shenzhen, China. Rupert Stadler, the then-CEO of Audi, refrained from ruling out the possibility of an even larger and more luxurious SUV to join the line-up. When asked if Audi was planning a Q9, Stadler told our sister publication, Autocar UK, “The customers will tell us what they want in the future. Time will tell.”
When asked the same question, Audi design boss Marc Lichte said, “We have so many ideas, so many ideas...”
Stadler did, however, confirm that a plug-in hybrid Q8 would join the line-up and that a high-performance RS version was likely to make an appearance. When asked of Audi Sport will turn its attention to the Q8, Stadler responded, saying, “I think the concept looks good.”
Audi believes there is space to expand on price and positioning. The Range Rover operates largely unchallenged in the segment right below the likes of the Bentley Bentayga. It is in this segment that Audi thinks it can grow and challenge Land Rover. The marque believes that the Q9 could offer something different from Land Rover since the brand is about technology as much as luxury and status. If the Q9 actually makes production as expected, it would be a direct rival to the Range Rover – much like the Q8 is to the Range Rover Sport.
On a related note, while Audi ultimately plans to launch a Q9 to sit atop its SUV range, it currently has no plans to launch an entry-level SUV smaller than the Q2. Any such a model would be difficult to produce profitably. The Q2 is already one of the smaller SUV models on the market and, in the company’s eyes, the A1 serves well as an entry-level Audi; a second- generation version of which was recently revealed.
“I think we are well-equipped with Q2 because this is already a premium product at the right price point,” said Stadler, when asked of plans for a Q1. “The A1 is our car for very young people. Possibilities below that get tighter.”
The Q8 has been spotted on Indian soil a few months ago and is expected to arrive in the country next year.