Audi is considering a full-size crossover to slot above the Q7. According to a report from CAR UK, chairman of the Audi board and Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said that even though the R8 is the flagship of the brand and the embodiment of the “vorsprung durch technik” culture, the brand still has room to expand its lineup.
That expansion is likely to come from the Q line of crossovers according to Stadler, who was quoted at the Beijing Auto show as saying , “We want to expand the SUV side of the business. By 2020, our Q models will account for over 45 percent of sales.”
The news comes on the heels of BMW confirming the approval of a full-size X7 flagship crossover to rival the highly-successful and sought-after Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, itself a full-size CUV. According to Mr. Stadler, though, Audi’s decision to produce the Q9 won’t be based on the actions of its rivals.
“If we do [a Q9], it will not be because of what our rivals are doing,” said Stadler, adding that if and when the full-size CUV gets the green light, it will offer an an e-tron plug-in hybrid variant.
The Motrolix Take
Mercedes’ GL has been a hit, which makes BMW’s reasoning for the X7 fairly obvious. And given that the current- and the next-gen Q7 are not nearly as spacious as the GL (or what we expect the X7 to be), Audi will be at a significant disadvantage in the booming and highly-profitable full-size luxury CUV segment without a competitive entry of its own. Meanwhile, the upcoming Q8 is expected to simply be a more “sexy” coupe-like variant of the Q7, analogous to what the Audi A7 is to the A6… so it doesn’t fit the bill, either. Given all that, we predict that Audi will bring the Q9 to market within the next few years, possibly aligning it with the A8. From there, a Q10 can become a more couple-like variant of the Q9… if demand for a coupe-like full-size luxury crossover exists.