Audi Doubles Down – Q8 and Q4 SUVs To See Production by Turn of the Decade
Automakers have latched onto and sucked continuously on the fleshy meat that is consumer demand for SUVs, crossovers, and an imaginary segment known as the coupe-SUV. The latter of which is a filled by a small number of SUVs that have manufacturer proclaimed “coupe-like dimensions” while riding on jacked-up, SUV-like suspension. It’s a mishmash of vehicle types, really, but we’ll leave that discussion for another time. The point is, our insatiable love for SUVs have led automakers to believe that the market is going to continue growing almost indefinitely. So much so that Ford believes it’s going to account for more than 45 percent of the auto industry within the next five or seven years. But, Ford isn’t the only one, as we’ve just received word that the Audi Q8 and, surprisingly, the Audi Q4 are about to go into production.
The Audi Q8, which we’ve already seen in concept form more than once, with the Q8 E-tron Concept getting a ton of attention at the Detroit Auto Show and it’s sibling – the Q8 Sport Concept – garnering its fair share of attention from the Geneva International Motor Show. They were obviously big hits, and Audi is wasting no time on the production version – it’s slated to go into production sometime in 2018 (probably early-2018) in Slovakia. The model will be Audi’s range-topping SUV, dethroning the Q7 and increasing Audi’s personal chunk of the Luxury SUV segment. It will be produced alongside the Q7 s and Q7 e-tron.
Then you’ve got this mythical creature known as the Audi Q4. This model has been rumored for years but was finally confirmed back in 2011 when VAG’s design boss confirmed that it and the Q6 were coming. Well, after that the trail went cold for a while, but then we saw the 2014 Audi TT Offroad Concept and the rumors began to fly that this concept was going to be the basis for the Q4. It wasn’t until 2016 that Audi finally got the Q4 name from FCA. It was trademarked six months later, and now we finally hear that it’s set to go into production as a “compact utility vehicle” at BMW’s Hungary plant in 2019.
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Audi Trademarks "Q4" Name
There was a lot of drama surrounding Audi, FCA, and the Q2 and Q4 names. Back in January, Audi and FCA squashed the drama with Audi taking the rights to the two names. We don’t know what Audi traded off to get the rights, but it didn’t waste any time bringing a Q2 to the market, with the crossover making its official debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Now, according to Auto Express it looks like Audi is about to break out the Q4 name as well, as the company has officially filed for fresh trademark protection for the name.
While little is really known about the Q4 at this point, it’s expected to have a close resemblance to the TT Offroad Concept that we saw back at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. Oddly, this trademark also coincides with the announcement from Samsung SDI stating that it is investing in a battery plant that is near the TT factory. This reinforces the idea that the Q4 could potentially come as a plug-in hybrid using batteries supplied by Samsung SDI after that announcement that it is teaming up with LG to supply batteries for upcoming EV vehicles.
For the record, Audi has also owned the SQ4 name since 2013, so it’s quite possible that we’ll also see a high-performance variant of the Q4 at some point in the future as well. Either way, expect the Q4 to pop up sooner than later, and to compete against the likes of the BMW X4 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. This could get interesting.
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Audi’s alphanumeric “Q#” nomenclature is finally complete after the company announced that it had successfully negotiated with Fiat Chrysler over the rights to the Q2 and Q4 names. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler made the announcement, saying that the two sides have reached an agreement that allowed Audi to take ownership of the two names.
Stadler didn’t dive into the specifics of the transaction, but he did hint that Audi had to give up some of its trademarks to FCA in exchange. In the purest sense, it was a trade that both sides agreed on, ending years of Audi’s relentless pursuit in completing its alphanumeric “Q#” lineup.
With the Q2 and Q4 names now in its possession, the German automaker is expected to waste little time putting the two names to use. The Q2, in particular, will be used on a sub-compact crossover that’s being tipped to make its debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in March. The model will be available in the same choice of engines as the A1 and will use Volkswagen’s MQB platform.
Meanwhile, the Q4 will likely be used on a coupe-like variant of the next-generation Audi Q3. Once it’s released, it would be slotted right smack in the middle of a segment that’s currently inhabited by its two biggest rivals, the BMW X4 and the Mercedes GLE-Class.
As for FCA, there’s no word on what it received from Audi as compensation for letting go of the Q2 and Q4. Back when it those two names were owned by FCA, Q2 was used as the name of its limited slip differential technology while Q4 was the designation for the all-wheel drive variants of the Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte.
According to Stadler, no amount of the money was part of the deal so it points to the possibility that this trade could’ve been a simple trademark-for-trademark transaction.
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Audi is coming to the Beijing Motor Show later this month with what looks to be an all-new crossover concept that could serve as a preview of the future Q4 crossover, or it could be a preview of an expanded TT lineup. Rumors of this Audi crossover have been circulating for years, and if you take a good look at these photos, it does bear a striking similarity to the Allroad Shooting Brake Concept that we first saw in Detroit last January.
If there’s any legs to rumors that Audi is planning to turn the TT into its own sub-brand, then you can see why the company is releasing all these TT-inspired concepts recently. It’s probably testing the market to see what the reception is going to be for a new sub-brand bearing the "TT" name.
On the flip side, there’s also that matter of expanding an already-established family under Audi’s roof: the Q SUVs. At one point or another, the TT Offroad Concept was linked as a potential future glimpse at an Audi Q4, the newest model to come out of the Q line, and one that would be slotted in just below the big boy Q5 and Q7 SUVs and just a hair above the Q3.
What’s become apparently clear is that the Audi TT Offroad Concept will play a big role in dictating Audi’s future lineup. It’s not just because of the new technology it has that can be adopted on other models, but more so on how Audi decides to use the concept relative to the rest of its existing lineup.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi TT Off-Road Concept.
Usually, future product offensive and market strategy is a close a guarded secret in any organization. However, there are ways to dig out information that could give us some idea as what goes on behind closed doors. Autocar recently got access to trademark applications filed by Audi which clearly reveal some of the models that could enter production in the near future.
The documents show a few SUVs that Audi plans to introduce into the market. Starting with the much talked about Q2, Audi wants to launch a high performance version based on the Q2, dubbed "SQ2". The company has already committed to a Range Rover Evoque rivaling Q4 and SQ4 on the aforementioned lines.
In recent times, the market has seen increased demand for luxury SUVs. Audi sees this as an opportunity to spread its wings. The company has trademarked the name "Q9" for a future large SUV. They also have plans to offer fuel-cell technology in their road cars. Hence the name "f-tron" pops up onto the trademarks list.
Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s SUVs and hybrid-electric models
Up until now, we’ve only heard rumors about possible Audi Q6 and Q4 SUVs, but now its official. Walter de’ Silva, Design Boss at Audi’s parent Volkswagen Group, has confirmed that the company has started to work on a BMW X6 competitor, while plans for a smaller SUV are still under consideration.
The X6 competitor is known as the Q6 and will be placed between Audi’s Q7 premium large SUV and the Q5 premium medium SUV: "We will definitely launch a sportier crossover in between the Q7 and Q5." The new model will be built on the Q7 platform and is expected to arrive sometime in 2015.
As for the other SUV, known as the Q4, it will be placed between the Q5 and Q3 and will be a competitor for the X4, a model that BMW will be launching in 2014.
Both models will be offered in an attempt to boost Audi’s sales, especially on the European market where BMW is the leader in the SUV market.
It seems that Audi is rather serious about expanding their SUV line-up. The current range includes the Q3, Q5, and Q7 models, and the company is preparing a Q6 to target the BMW X6 and the Q1 to do battle with the Mini Countryman. One would think that would be enough, but the company is apparently readying another model in the Q4 SUV. The model will be a direct competitor to the Range Rover Evoque and will actually be a sporty version of the Q5.
Not much has been said about the Q4, but it is definitely not a rumor. The SUV is already at the advanced concept stage at Audi’s Ingolstadt R&D centre in Germany. It will be built on the same MLB platform as the Q5. The model will be a five-body SUV with design elements inspired by the A5 Sportback.
For the engine line-up, the company will offer a new 2.0-liter turbodiesel with 170 HP and 210 HP, as well as a 240 HP 3.0-liter V6 diesel. Petrol engines will include a 270 HP naturally aspirated 3.2-liter V6 and a 328 HP supercharged 3.0-liter V6 petrol. The latter engine will only be available in selected markets, including North America. A hybrid version will also be offered.
Expect this model to hit the market no earlier than 2015.