The Audi Q9 has been churning in the rumor mill for about 8 years, and Audi may finally be pressing on with the plan for the model that goes above the Q8.
In March, Autocar‘s spy photographers captured a prototype that looked like a full-size Audi SUV, and thus possibly, an Audi Q9. Reports say that it will be based on the same platform as the VW Atlas, the MQB, not the MLB-Evo supporting current Audi SUVs. The rumors have led to auto illustrators producing digital mockups of a VW Atlas with Audi fascias slapped onto it.
The rendered Audi Q9, courtesy of Kleber Silva of KDesign AG, has a powerful front-end lifted off the Audi Q8 SUV-coupe. The brawny, octagonal Singleframe flaunts six vertical chrome struts, and its wide mask in a contrasting finish connects it to the more sophisticated, HD matrix LED headlights. Highly contoured air inlets in the lower bumper add to the confident look at the front.
The rendering above, created by Instagram user sugardesign_1, previews a sportier Audi Q8. The frame of the Singleframe and the front skid plate carries a black finish, and the design and size of the alloy wheels are sportier and bigger, respectively. Perhaps, this exterior would better suit a performance variant like an Audi SQ9 that could additionally have black mirrors & roof bars, and red brake calipers.
Audi Q9 design (from spy pictures)
The Audi Q9 in the spy pictures 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 has been the calling card of the upper-class Audi SUVs since the launch of the Q8. The Singleframe grille has vertical embellishers, and it is connected to the wedge-shaped headlamps. 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 away 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 specs
A plug-in hybrid is expected in the Audi Q9 range with TFSI e powertrains. Propulsion would come from a 3.0-liter V6 gasoline unit like in the Q7’s 55 TFSI e and 60 TFSI e variants or a bigger, 4.0-liter V8 gasoline unit. Audi could be targeting an electric range of around 50 miles from the plug-in hybrid variant.
Audi Q9 release date
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 details of the Audi Q9 could be announced at the Shanghai Motor Show (April 19-28), hinting that a concept version, or in the least, a teaser, could be released at the event. The British publication also says that there’s no plan to offer the Audi Q9 in the UK, indicating limited availability worldwide compared to the Audi Q7.
The U.S. launch of the Audi Q9 TFSI e full-size plug-in hybrid electric SUV could occur in 2022, which could become its second-biggest market after China, with prices starting at about $90,000. The current Range Rover PHEV costs $97,000 onwards.
Audi Q9 unrelated to the Artemis Project
The Audi Artemis project, which has turned into an independent company now, is working on vehicles, including the Audi Landjet. Markus Duesmann, CEO of Audi, has confirmed that the car emerging from Artemis is neither an A nor a Q series model, therefore unrelated to the Q9.
Featured Image Source: behance.com/KDesign AG