Audi Q9 to be a proper three-row SUV for the U.S.: Report [Update]

  • Audi's biggest global model to be squarely aimed at American customers
  • Expected to be offered with mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains
  • Will compete with the U.S.-built BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS
  • Expected to start arriving at U.S. dealerships by 2025

Update: ‘Design’ section updated and ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section added.

In the U.S., full-size SUVs with three rows, such as the Mercedes GLS and BMW X7, are in high demand. So far, Audi has managed with a three-row seating option in its lower-segment Q7, but it is working on a proper competitor named Audi Q9 to take on the two flagship German SUVs, according to a report from Automotive News filed in 2021.

Here is what we expect from the future three-row Audi SUV, following media reports of the purported Audi Q9. Note that Audi has not confirmed plans for the Q9, and this article is simply a general expectation.


Audi Q9 rendering
TopElectricSUV’s illustration of the Audi Q9 (pictured) imagines the SUV with a lengthy wheelbase and large windows.

Compared to the Audi Q7, the Audi Q9’s exterior design should be more aggressive and powerful. Since the launch of the Q8, Audi SUVs have been marked by an octagonal Singleframe grille, slim wedge-shaped headlamps connected to the grille, and narrow light strips connect the rear combination lamps.

Unlike the Q7, which went softer and became more crossover-ish in the second generation, the Q9 should have a strong and imposing character that’s clearly expressive of its sizable dimensions. We expect more upright front and rear fascias, taller and straighter roofline, bigger windows and quarter glass panels that let in plenty of natural light in all three rows row, and 23-inch wheels that, along with notably high ground clearance, announce the SUV’s size and capabilities from a distance. A motorized side step may make entering and exiting an SUV convenient and elegant.


Audi interior that is to inspire the Audi Q9
We expect inspiration to be drawn from the Q4 e-tron, but the Audi Q9’s dashboard could be spartan compared to the highly digital future Audi EVs. Image Source: Audi

Inside, expect familiarity with inspiration from new electric vehicles like the Q4 e-tron but features arranged in a traditional way. The Q9 is likely to offer three rows of seats in a standard 2+3+2 layout as well as an optional 2+2+2 layout. Audi would have to focus on electrification to reduce emissions and fuel consumption due to the larger dimensions and the load of extra passengers or luggage in the third row.



Audi hasn’t confirmed, but reports say that the Q9 will ride on the same platform as the Q5, Q7, and Q8 – MLB Evo or what Audi recently terms as the PPC (Premium Platform Combustion). The Q9 will likely be Audi’s largest SUV on this platform. Rather than offering outright performance and uncompromising luxury like Bentley, Audi will likely concentrate on aspects like space and value.


Audi’s gas-powered Q9, with the U.S. market in mind, is likely to be much longer than the Q7 and measure around 205 inches in length. In addition to adult-sized third-row seats, the Q9 should offer a cavernous cargo area when folding down all the seats behind the first row.

There are no signs that Audi intends to compete against the large Cadillac Escalade ESV, Lincoln Navigator L, or Jeep Grand Wagoneer L. American automakers dominate those segments, and even BMW and Mercedes-Benz have stayed away. Additionally, we doubt that the platform of the Q9 would be able to accommodate the dimensions of these American SUVs. Currently, the biggest application of Volkswagen Group’s MLB Evo platform is the Bentley Bentayga, which is 208.9 in. long and has a 125.0 in. wheelbase.


As Audi plans to introduce one last new generation of engines by 2026, we expect it to use those in the Q9. They will be the company’s best engines ever made, according to the brand.

Audi’s last internal combustion engine will be the best we’ve ever built.

Markus Duesmann, CEO, Audi (Berlin climate conference in June 2021)

Audi could offer 3.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engines with mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies in the Q9. The company could target an EPA-est. electric range of around 40 miles from the plug-in hybrid variant. A 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 gasoline engine with plug-in hybrid technology is also likely to be a part of the powertrain line-up of the Q9. It could be related to the Lamborghini Urus Evo’s plug-in hybrid system, which as per a CAR report dated March 4, 2021, will consist of a Porsche-developed engine internally called ‘LK5.’

Release date

With the next-gen Q5 due this year and a new Q7 scheduled for launch in 2024 as per media reports, plus the Q6 e-tron family also in the pipeline in 2024, we doubt Audi can program the Q9’s world premiere anytime before 2025.

On August 8, 2022, Automotive News reported that the Q9 might join the Audi line-up in 2025. U.S. dealers have reportedly been told about a new model on the roadmap, but Audi has not confirmed it.

The U.S., the second-biggest SUV market after China, will likely be among the first countries to receive the Q9, probably at a starting price of around USD 80,000. Going by media reports, customer delivery units should start reaching Audi U.S. dealers by the end of 2025.

TopElectricSUV says

The Audi Q9 could be the four-ringed brand’s biggest and most feature-packed SUV to date, designed specifically for American families. The stylish XL SUV from Ingolstadt could be the most high-tech and classiest full-size SUV on the market, thus being the perfect luxury vehicle for upper-class consumers. Despite our confidence that it’ll be as capable, if not better, than German rivals BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS in most areas, we’ll have to wait and see whether it’s as luxurious as the Range Rover, the segment’s benchmark.

Audi Q9 FAQs

What is the Audi Q9 release date?

The Q9 could debut in 2025, targeted at the U.S., China, and the Middle East.

What will be the Audi Q9 price?

The Q9 could cost around USD 80,000 onwards. It is expected in electrified versions.

Which models will be Audi Q9 rivals?

The Q9 will compete with the likes of Range Rover, BMW X7, and Mercedes GLS.

Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s illustration of the Audi Q9.