Detroit Motor Show: Audi to expand sporty SUV family

Audi's new Q7

AUDI is working on a new model offensive that could see the creation of a family of sporty SUVs filling holes in the current SUV line-up – think Q1, Q4, Q6 and Q8.

Chief executive Rupert Stadler said the German luxury brand is looking to expand its line-up from about 50 models to 60 or more.

Key to that expansion will be new SUV models that capitalise on unprecedented growth for the high-riding wagons.

Audi board member for technical development, Ulrich Hackenberg, said at the 2015 Detroit motor show that sporty SUVs were a major focus for the brand.

“I’m sure the SUV market will grow,” Hackenberg said. “There are some segments that are not covered by this SUV concept and that’s the reason we are working on a small Q, which we call Q1, because we don’t own the name Q2 … it’s owned by another company.

“If you look at how our SUVs are placed, we have the Q3, the Q5, the Q7 … we can imagine maybe there is some sporty version; for example, there is a space between 5 and 7 and maybe beyond 7 there is a possibility, or between 3 and 5 also a possibility.

“So we are looking very interested and very intensive for such plans.”

Hackenberg pointed to Alfa Romeo’s ownership of the Q4 nameplate as a reason to name that model using the TT – or TT Q (for Quattro), as a concept alluded to.

“TT is one possibility to give a name to the car,” he said.

He also hinted larger sports-oriented SUV derivatives were under development.

“We could name it Q8 or Q6,” he said when referencing a larger (or two) sleekly styled SUV.

As with the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE that a Q6 or Q8 would compete with, Hackenberg said exclusivity would be key and the cars would be priced higher than regular models such as the Q5 or Q7.

But he said Audi would have a different interpretation of the coupe-like look.

“We are following that with interest, but the (design) proportion of what they are doing is not what we would do,” he said. “To have an X5 … and make a roof which is like a coupe is not our way. We will find another way. The other guys are doing the same (but) we have other ideas.”

The Q1 is due in 2016 and will likely be followed by the TT Q, then Q6 and/or Q8.

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