Expect Audi’s SUV offerings to double by 2016 when the Q2, Q4, and Q6 join the Q3, Q5 and Q7. The even-numbered SUVs are intended to be sportier than the current odd-number vehicles already on sale. Audi believes there is still a strong global demand for up-market SUVs.
“It’s clear that demand for SUVs and crossovers is still in an upswing phase and will remain so for some years to come. We want to make sure we have the coverage to satisfy it,” an Audi insider revealed to Autocar.
The new Q2 SUV (which may or may not potentially wear the Q1 name) will be the new baby in Audi’s SUV family. It will be based on an upcoming four-wheel drive version of the A1’s platform, which it will share with a Volkswagen cousin. The pair will fill the slot below the Q3/Volkswagen Tiguan and be about the size of the Nissan Juke. That said, content levels and premium content will likely make this a direct competitor for BMW’s Mini Countryman offering. Expect powertrain offerings to largely mirror those in the A1.
Built to rival Range Rover’s Evoque, the middle-of-the-pack Q4 will share platforms and most of its dimensions with the Q5. The one exception will be its roofline, which will be chopped just over two inches. Styling will be similar to the A5 Sportback, with more rake to its windshield than the Q5, shallower greenhouse and an angled liftback-style rear hatch. Fender flares reminiscent of 1980s rally Quattros are also reportedly a possibility. The interior will be similar to the Q5, but its smaller stature may render this a firm four-seater instead of offering room for five.
Expect engines for the U.S. market to include versions of the turbocharged 2.0 liter I-4 and the 270 hp naturally aspirated 3.2-liter gas V6. Other engine choices may include Audi’s 2.0-liter turbodiesel with 170-hp and 210-hp or a 240-hp 3.0-liter V6 diesel. An S-model for the North American market may feature Audi’s 328-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6 gas-powered engine.
Lest you thought the world was done with coupe-shaped crossovers, word has it Audi’s is readying a Q6, which is set to rival BMW’s X6 and Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming GLS model. Originally believed to be based on today’s Q7, it will instead reportedly ride upon Audi’s MLB (modular longitudinal architecture) platform, which also underpins the current Q5, the upcoming Q4 and Porsche Cajun, and a handful of non-SUV models. In an effort to reduce weight, expect its body structure to be constructed primarily from aluminum, and several body panels fashioned from composite plastics and carbon fiber.
Is six SUVs too many for Audi? Other manufacturers currently have several SUV and crossover models in their portfolios. Ford has five (six if you count the Expedition EL separate from the Expedition) SUVs, not including their equivalent Lincoln forms (three). Toyota has seven, unless you add Lexus’ three models into the count. Perhaps more importantly, BMW has four (five if you count the Mini), and Mercedes-Benz has almost as many in their lineup.
Is Audi justified in pushing more crossovers to market, or is the company attempting to slice the pie a bit too thin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.