Most of the major luxury brands now offer full-size SUVs but the option is still missing at Audi, though that situation may change in the near future.
Audi engineers are testing a prototype for a full-size SUV. Although in many circles it is being referred to as a Q9, the vehicle may end up being called a Q7 L, or perhaps Q8 L.
We still can’t rule out the name Q9, though. Audi filed trademarks for the name as early as 2013, and the automaker’s executives have previously hinted at the need for an SUV bigger than the Q7 and Q8.
There’s also a good chance that the mystery SUV will be sold in China only. Audi already offers a handful of Chinese-exclusive models, and more are planned. Coming up next is a Q5 E-Tron.
But getting back to this mystery SUV. An earlier tester used a Volkswagen Atlas body to hide its new mechanicals. The Atlas uses a stretched version of Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform designed for mainstream cars but any Audi full-size SUV would likely ride on a stretched version of the premium MLB Evo platform found in several Audis, including the Q7 and Q8.
We currently expect this mystery SUV to be revealed in late 2022 or early the following year.
Don’t be surprised if additional Volkswagen Group brands launch their own full-size SUVs to help spread the investment cost of this Audi. Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark last year hinted strongly that an SUV will fill the void of the Mulsanne as the brand’s future flagship, and Volkswagen in 2016 rolled out the T-Prime Concept GTE and confirmed plans for a production model. The T-Prime is a full-size SUV measuring 11 inches longer than the latest Touareg.
Stay tuned for updates as development continues.