Instagram user ari4sto7 has captured a prototype that looks like a full-size Audi SUV, and thus possibly, an Audi Q9. Autocar‘s spy pictures from March 2021 suggest that this isn’t the first time Audi is testing the Q9 in Europe.
The Audi Q9 has been churning in the rumor mill for about eight years. Spy media indicates that Audi is finally pressing the button for the model that goes above the Q8.
Audi Q9 design & interior
The Audi Q9 in the spy media is covered entirely in camouflage, but we get a fair idea of the size and proportions. As expected, the rumored flagship Audi SUV would be the biggest Audi vehicle to be made, measuring no less than 197 inches in length. However, we doubt it’d be able to match up to the gargantuan American full-size SUVs Cadillac Escalade, the Lincoln Navigator, or the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, at the tape, or in sheer road presence.
The Audi Q9 appears to have an octagonal Singleframe grille, which is the calling card of the upper-class Audi SUVs since the launch of the Q8. The Singleframe grille, connected to the wedge-shaped headlamps, has vertical embellishers. Tall side air inlets would highlight the confident and imposing look of the large SUV that is all about road presence.
On the sides, the Audi Q9 has squarish fenders and a greenhouse reminiscent of the first-gen Audi Q7. The roofline looks flatter than that of the first-gen Audi Q7 and rather similar to that of the second-gen Audi Q7, which should allow ample headroom. At the rear, the windscreen tapers down gently.
Inside, expect an air of familiarity with inspiration arriving from new EVs like the Q4 e-tron, but in the traditional layout. Three rows of seats in a standard 2+3+2 layout and an optional 2+2+2 layout are likely to be offered in the Audi Q9. The larger dimensions and the heavier load of extra passengers in the third-row would require Audi to focus strongly on electrification to keep the emissions and fuel consumption in check.
Audi Q9 specifications
Audi could employ its 2.0- and 3.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engines in the Q9, as per a report from chejiahao.autohome.com.cn. There’s no speak of electrification in the Chinese report. Still, we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the plug-in hybrid systems of the Q7 55 TFSI e and Q7 60 TFSI with a 3.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine eventually making it to the Q9. The company could target an electric range of around 50 miles from the plug-in hybrid.
The Audi Q9 would arrive in 2022 as the long-awaited four-ringed Mercedes GLS rival and compete with variants of the BMW X7 and the Range Rover, German media reports claim.
Autocar’s report says that there’s no plan to offer the Audi Q9 in the UK, indicating limited availability worldwide compared to the Audi Q7. In the U.S., potentially the Q9’s second-biggest market after China, the launch could occur in late 2022, with prices starting at about $90,000. The current Range Rover PHEV costs $97,000 onwards.
Featured Image Source: Instagram