If quattro isn't helping, bring in those ass-engined geniuses from Stuttgart.
There’s embracing the future and then there’s diving in feet first, and maybe it’s the company’s desire to cleanse itself of the smoggy image Dieselgate brought about, but Volkswagen and its army of well-engineered allies seem the most intent on pushing the bar line higher and higher. Its technologically advanced lineup just doesn’t cut it anymore, and the latest news from Audi’s mouth details how a handful of sexy SUVs, sleek range-toppers, and advanced EVs will bring Audi up to par with the rest of the German luxury segment.
Mercedes and BMW are content doing battle at the top, but Audi may soon catch up if the two aren't careful. “We are rejuvenating our model portfolio enormously and will renew five existing core model series by mid-2018,” stated Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “In addition, we will expand our successful Q family by 2019 with two new concepts – the Audi Q8 and the Audi Q4 – and we will launch our battery-electric e-tron models.” Stadler’s words are a boon to fans of the Q8 and the cheaper Q4 that will utilize Mercedes’ and BMW’s strategy of selling coupe-like SUVs to up sales figures.
Stadler made no mention as to what the five core models are, but Autocar notes that it’s likely the A1, A6, A7, A8, and Q3. Come July 11th, Audi will pull the covers off of the new A8 in Barcelona, hopefully giving movie studios all the reason to recast the Four Rings flagship alongside Jason Statham in a new Transporters movie. The car Statham wouldn’t be as enthusiastic to drive is the hybrid version of the A8 and its accompanying A7 hybrid, which will be out when the four-door coupe is re-released. That will be soon after the A8 as Audi is taking this year to focus on its top trim models. Following that, three e-tron vehicles are set for release by 2020, part of a push to electrify 30% of the Four Rings’ lineup by 2025.
One interesting note to make is the upcoming appearance of Porsche technology in Audis (and vice versa). The two automakers recently collaborated to share tech and platforms in order to cut research and development costs, which could mean that Audi switches to rear-wheel drive dominant platforms. This would be a welcome change since any current Audi without quattro all-wheel drive gets power to the front wheels. Mercedes may be focusing on its AMG lineup while BMW appeases the 1%, but Audi is poised to cutdown those two automakers' slices of pie by appealing to the futurist in all of us.