Is an Audi Q9 coming?
The idea of an Audi Q9 model goes back to 2013 when the German automaker trademarked the name. In 2014, Audi predicted 45-percent of its business would be SUVs, and a super-luxury SUV as a range-topper was in the cards. But, the Q9 never materialized despite Audi's success withers small and mid-size SUVs and crossovers, topping out with the Q7 and Q8. Now, leaks and rumors suggest we'll see the Q9 in 2022, and it'll be a large luxury seven-seat SUV with larger dimensions than a Bentley Bentayga. On top of that, our spy photographer has spotted this curiosity out winter testing in Sweden.
The immediate thought is that it's the new Audi Q9, however, there is a pause for thought. On closer inspection, it appears to made up using a Volkswagen Atlas body with Audi parts. If it is the Q9 as we imagine it, then it's either still quite early in development or Audi wants to give as little as possible away to spy photographers. Up front, it appears to have prototype Audi headlights while the taillights look like completed units. What's curious, though, is the camouflage pattern is not one our spy photographer often sees in Europe and is more typical of Chinese prototypes.
That's where we start to wonder whether this is the new Q9 for the western market or if Audi is putting something together more specifically for the Chinese market. It's possible Audi's Chinese division has a hand in the Q9 to tailor aspects to the Chinese market, or even that the Q9 will be a China-only model. After all, Audi has been sitting on the Q9 name for around ten years now without seeing a need to build a bigger SUV. On the other hand, it makes a lot of sense for Audi to create a flagship SUV to go up against the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.