Audi’s long awaited rival for the Mercedes-Benz GLS and BMW X7, the Q9, has reportedly been put hold until 2025 when it will debut as one of Ingolstadt’s last new international combustion powered models.
Rumoured as far back as 2018 as a coupe-styled model similar to the Q8, the three-row had been tipped to premiere in 2021, only to be pushed back to next year as not only a rival for the offerings from Stuttgart and Munich, but also the next generation Volvo XC90 as well as the seven-seat Range Rover.
According to a report from Automotive News though, Audi dealers in North America have been informed that the Q9 will now become a reality in three years’ time, twelve months before the brand embarks on an electric only future. While set to make use of the same MLB Evo platform used by the Q7, Lamborghini Urus, Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga, the move towards electrification could well lead to a switch in platform to the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture used by the Q6 e-tron in China.
Reportedly, the Q9’s unveiling will come at the same as the next generation Q7, although speculative claims have suggested the former replacing the latter entirely once the current generation, which debuted in 2015, exits production. “The customers will tell us what they want in the future,” disgraced former CEO Rupert Stadler told Britain’s Autocar in 2018 after being asked about the possibility of a larger model above the Q7 and Q8 becoming a reality.
Also remaining tight lipped was Ingolstadt’s former design boss, Marc Lichte, who merely told the publication, “We have so many ideas, so many ideas…” While shrouded in mystery for now, expect the Q9, when it reaches to production, to make use of mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid TFSI powerunits with four, six and possibility also eight-cylinders before becoming wholly electric propelled. Expect more details to become apparent or hinted at over the coming months and into 2023.