Audi is serious about taking on BMW and Mercedes, and it knows one area where it could use a big boost is SUVs. Mercedes has a rich, deep history with its SUVs traversing all kinds of crazy rugged trails for decades, while BMW has everyone convinced it makes SAVs that are more like sports cars than the F10.
To get an edge, Audi has a plan to roll out a big SUV line that starts with the miniscule Q2 and goes all the way to the big, brutal Q9. The brand is overdue on refreshing its entire model lineup, which has seriously hurt overall sales for the past couple of years.
Already, we can see the beginning of the onslaught with the 2017 Audi Q7, which has been praised by quite a few, and for good reason. The first generation of the crossover was nothing short of incredible, handling like a much smaller crossover and providing absolutely brutal acceleration (especially with the 4.2-liter V-8 and its raucous mechanical symphony anyone can appreciate). The only engine for the new Q7 is the 3.0L TFSI, which gets the job done surprisingly well. The new generation is almost too good, which bodes well for Audi if its other crossovers follow suit.
The youths are the target for the Q2, an SUV that’s so small it will make the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA, look huge. That should give Audi an edge with hip urbanites.
In two years, Audi will release an all-electric SUV, the Q6 e-tron, flexing the brand’s tech muscles. A year after that Audi will go where BMW so far doesn’t dare to tread, releasing the Q9. It will go head-to-head against the Mercedes GLS and the Cadillac Escalade.
Supposedly there’s still a possibility of a TT-based crossover, even though some have claimed the project is dead.
Automotive News talked to IHS Automotive about the upcoming changes. The firm says that even with all of the new SUVs, Audi won’t be able to get out of third place in the luxury market until at least 2022. That’s bad news for the Volkswagen Group, which needs Audi to make a ton of cash because of the financial drag from Dieselgate.