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Audi Q SUV range set to expand

The Q4 and Q6 are likely to borrow styling cues from the Audi Q8 Sport concept revealed at the Geneva motor show last week.

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler has confirmed that the German prestige brand will bolster its SUV range with the addition of Q4 and Q6 crossovers, as well as an all-electric Q-branded vehicle and small car.

Mr Stadler said that the Q8 Sport coupe-SUV concept from last week's Geneva motor show will pave the way for further expansion of Audi's Q model line-up.

The Q2 compact crossover has only recently been added to the car-maker's stable – complementing the existing small Q3, mid-size Q5 and large Q7 SUVs – with the Q8 flagship expected to arrive next year.

"I'm absolutely sure they (the SUV range) have to be filled because the customer desire in different global regions is somehow so different that you have to be on the marketplace with different variables," Mr Stadler said.

The manufacturer's first all-electric SUV is also under development and remains on pace for a 2018 launch.

"We are strongly working on that because we see that there is a business potential. We see that with new variables and products, we can reload Audi. Of course, on one hand with technologies, on the other hand, optically with new products. This is finally what drives strongly."

When questioned if there was space for a potential Q1 model beneath the Q2, Mr Stadler responded "priorities are a little more upscale."

"It is named Q2 to keep at least an option," he said. "But our job is much more in the direction of Q4 and upwards."

Q4 and Q6 models would, like the forthcoming Q8, offer coupe-inspired styling, but be based on the Q3 and Q5 respectively.

These additions would help Audi stay competitive in the increasingly popular premium SUV segment, where it would face opposition from the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe.

As well, the manufacturer's first all-electric SUV – as previewed by the e-tron Quattro concept at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show –  is also under development and remains on pace for a 2018 launch.

However, it is likely to carry its own nameplate as Audi looks to establish new branding which identifies models in its pure EV line-up.

"We're still working on the right nomenclature," Mr Stadler said. "But being honest, I would like to feel free in terms of positioning that car.

Audi will add even more EVs in the future the first of which will be a small passenger vehicle that would likely go toe-to-toe with the BMW i3.

"It is like the word 'quattro' 25 years ago or 30 years ago. It is something very special. It is our first pure battery-electric vehicle with a range of 500km.

"Of course, maybe the next generations, it will properly fit into our standard nomenclature because we see much more better electric vehicles in the future."

Mr Stadler did forecast that Audi will add even more EVs in the future – following the electric SUV's release – the first of which will be a small passenger vehicle that would likely go toe-to-toe with the BMW i3.

"The decision-making was based on technology, on getting into the lead, because it's not only one car, there will be more in terms of battery-electric vehicles," he said.

"We will surprise you hopefully during 2017. And then, of course, our mission is in the compact segment to have a battery-electric vehicle. Maybe this one does not need 500km range. Maybe we can work with 400, 450.

"Maybe there are different packages which we can offer in terms of range and here we are working very close together with Volkswagen guys on the MEV (modular electric vehicle) platform."

Is it time to acknowledge that SUVs will continue to be more popular than passenger cars for the foreseeable future? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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