Audi, known for its impressive lineup of luxury vehicles, has long been missing a full-size luxury SUV in its portfolio. While competitors like Mercedes and BMW have been offering their GL/GLS and X7 models, respectively, Audi has yet to unveil its equivalent flagship SUV. However, recent statements from Audi Australia director Jeff Mannering hint at a potential game-changer.
In an interview with CarSales, Mannering addressed the absence of a larger, more luxurious SUV in Audi’s lineup. He expressed openness to the idea, stating, “Yes, of course. If you just look at volume versus different brands, we’re not in some segments that others are in. Let’s see what happens in the next 24 months.” Mannering even teased the potential name for this flagship SUV, suggesting that “Q9” would be a fitting and catchy moniker.
The long-anticipated Audi Q9 may finally become a reality before 2026, with reports from Automotive News indicating a possible launch in 2025, with a focus on the US market. Rumours suggest that the Q9 will be a true seven-seater SUV, offering ample legroom for third-row occupants. Key markets for this flagship model are expected to be the United States and China.
Dealers in North America were reportedly informed about the impending arrival of the Q9 over a year ago, marking it as one of the last Audi models to be launched with combustion engines. Audi has set an ambitious goal to transition to an all-electric lineup by 2026, with a complete cessation of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle production by 2032, contingent on local demand in China.
While the introduction of the Q9 is a significant development, it won’t be the only change in Audi’s SUV lineup. The not-for-America Q2 is set to retire after just one generation. Meanwhile, the fully electric Q6 E-Tron is scheduled for release this year, accompanied by a sleeker Q6 E-Tron Sportback. The lineup, however, has a unique twist, as Audi currently sells a gas-powered Q6 in China, designed as a three-row SUV, adding a touch of complexity to its global offerings.