Audi Q7

Most people would have assumed that the Audi Q7 is more than enough to give the Mercedes-Benz GL a bloody nose. Not Audi, though. According to a report by Automotive News Europe, citing Bloomberg, the German firm is planning to introduce a range-topping Audi Q8 to really trouble the GL.

Slated to go on sale by the end of 2020, the Audi Q8 will be a vital component in ramping up sales figures, especially in markets that favour full-size SUVs such as China, North America and several Gulf states. Speaking at the recent Detroit motor show, Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler commented that the Q8 “would strengthen the brand. I’m convinced we need the car by 2020.”

Technical specifications on the car is sketchy at best but Audi is “working heavily on this project,” as stated by Stadler. Should that be the case, we can expect the Audi Q8 to share most of its hardware with its upcoming cousin from the Volkswagen stable, the Bentley Bentayga.

Though the two could be related in terms of drivetrain options, the Bentley would likely be priced higher than its four-ringed counterpart while boasting a more opulent interior. Its main rivals, apart from the aforementioned GL, would arrive in the form of the BMW X7 and the Jaguar F-Pace.

Jag_C-X17_FrontThreeQuarter

Another dark horse set to rain on Audi’s parade is the Maserati Levante SUV that is set to make its debut in September at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show. Despite the impending onslaught from rival manufacturers, Audi is convinced that the Q8 will do well, particularly in the American market.

Although it trails Mercedes-Benz and BMW in terms of sales in America, Stadler is adamant that the Q8 will turn things around as the firm outsold its rivals in other major markets. “We did it in China, we did in Europe. Why shouldn’t it happen in the U.S. at some point?” he added.

The Audi Q8 will be part of the automaker’s long-term plan to invest up to €24 billion in the next few years. Said plan will see Audi introduce up to 60 models by the end of the decade, including a model at the opposite end of the SUV range – the Audi Q1.

Maserati Levante SUV spyshots

Bentley Bentayga SUV spyshots