Despite rising gas prices, consumers around the world continue to embrace SUVs more than ever. Audi recognizes the trend and the company's chairman of the board, Rupert Stadler, says "he wants a share of the action."
The proposed plan is to expand the Q range to a total of seven models, including new versions of the Q3, Q5, and Q7. Those three will then be joined by the Q2, Q4, Q6, and Q8. Automobile claims that the odd-numbered models will sport an "allroad-plus" off-road theme similar to the current allroad wagons with higher ground clearance as well as rugged-looking body cladding and bumpers.
Some of the sleeker even-numbered models may be offered in two- and four-door configurations. Not only would these more stylish models compete with the Range Rover Evoque, they would also contend with upcoming front-drive based SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The Q2 could arrive as soon as 2016, will ride on the same MQX AO platform as the Volkswagen Polo, and could offer five engines in Europe including two TDI diesels and a range-topping 220-hp mill for the S Q2. The Q4 should share platforms with the upcoming Volkswagen Tiguan, while the Q6 will share underpinnings with the next Q5; the Q8 would be based on the third-generation Q7 but add the option of the S6's 550-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8.
Speaking of which, the Q7 will be the first new Q model when it arrives in 2014. It'll ride on the same MLBevo platform as the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, as well as the upcoming Lamborghini and Bentley SUVs. The new Q7 is expected to be over 700 pounds lighter thanks to the new platform, which features strong, yet lightweight materials. Engine choices should be similar to the current-gen model, but a four-cylinder base engine is possible.
The next-generation Q5 is due in 2016, which also coincides with the opening of Audi's new plant in Mexico. While Audi isn't ready to confirm that the Q5 will be built there, it did say that the plant would first produce a new SUV.
Though Audi's long-term plans could change by 2017 and beyond, the automaker's goal to meet rising demand for luxury SUVs won't. Not only is Audi looking at China's increased demand for high-riding luxury sport 'utes, but apparently Europeans are starting to warm up to them as well.