Well, how about that? Just a month after BMW confirmed that it will be building a flagship X7 SUV, CAR UK has now reported that an Audi Q9 flagship is being considered to compete with it, sitting above the already enormous seven-seater Q7 (pictured above).
Asked about a range-topping model at Auto China in Beijing, Audi chairman of the board and CEO Rupert Stadler told the British publication that while the R8 is the flagship of the brand and the embodiment of the tagline “vorsprung durch technik”, there was still room for the rest of the range to grow.
And that growth will apparently come from its Q lineup, with Stadler saying, “We want to expand the SUV side of the business. By 2020, our Q models will account for over 45% of sales.”
Neither is the company worried about being late to the mega-SUV market, with Bentley and Lamborghini concepts also already shown. “If we do [a Q9], it will not be because of what our rivals are doing,” said Stadler. He also added that if and when it does get the green light, an e-tron plug-in hybrid variant will be offered.
But while the Audi range has space to grow upmarket, the possibility of the brand pushing in the opposite direction – possibly with a VW up!-based A0 city car under the A1 (pictured above) – remains unlikely. “There is no need for a car [below the A1 in the range],” Stadler said. “We are quite happy with A1. It sells 120,000 units, and has a high degree of equipment and accessories, so [profit margins] are quite good.
It remains to be seen if Audi would take the two-pronged approach to moving upmarket by creating a new flagship sedan to slot above the A8 as well, following what BMW might be doing with its own range – apart from the X7, BMW is also mulling a possible 9 Series, which the Vision Future Luxury concept shown in Beijing might have been previewing.
GALLERY: Next generation Audi Q7 spyshots