Last week Audi stated its intention to expand an already bustling line-up of electric vehicles to “about 30 models, of which approximately 20 will be powered entirely by electric batteries” by the end of 2025. The company plans to spend 35 billion euro on all manner of vehicle programmes, many of which will include PHEVs and EVS. So what’s coming when?
There are only a few missing numbers in Audi’s SUV line-up and certainly room below the 4,191 mm long Q2 for a sub-4m model. Officially, Audi has no intention of adding such a vehicle but the company will likely create a Q1 e-tron later in the 2020s; probably in 2023. The shortened version of the electric-only MEB architecture would be the logical platform. The little SUV would become a competitor for potential rival models from MINI (not BMW), Jeep, smart (not Mercedes) and potentially VW too. Others may join this potential expanding section of the market in 2024 or later.
Way back in December 2012, Audi confirmed rumours that it was developing a small crossover. The 4,191 mm long Q2 had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2016, with production at the Ingolstadt plant commencing six months later.
An extended wheelbase model, the 4,229 mm long Q2 L, is built in China and sold mostly there too. It is part of the FAW Volkswagen joint venture and was the first vehicle for a second phase of the JV‘s doubling of its capacity at the Foshan manufacturing base to 600,000 units per annum. The capacity lift was completed in June 2018 with 110,000 units per annum set aside for the Q2 L. Sales of this model commenced in October 2018.
Mexico is the only country in North America where the Q2 is available. In the USA and Canada, the Q3 is Audi’s smallest crossover or SUV. The facelifted model announced in September is Mexico’s 2021 Q2. Please see the link to PLDB below for life cycle details as well as the SQ2, plus the Q2 L e-tron, an EV.
Plug-in hybrid versions of the Q3 and Q3 Sportback have just been announced. The Q3 45 TFSI e and Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e are due in European dealerships from March/April. The maximum range on electricity alone is 50 km. The powertrain consists of a 110 kW (150 PS) 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine plus an 85 kW (116 PS) and 330 Nm (243 lb ft) single motor, the combined outputs of which are 180 kW (245 PS) and 400 Nm (295 lb ft). Energy is stored in a 13.0 kWh battery which has 96 prismatic cells. Drive goes to the front axle via a six-speed DSG.
All versions of the Q3 and its Sportback derivative should have facelifts in early 2023, the successors being due in the third or fourth quarters of 2026.
Announced to the media via video as a concept in July, the Q4 e-tron Sportback will enter production during the third quarter of 2021, Audi says. Compared to the also forthcoming Q4 e-tron, the 4.6 m long EV will have a lower and more steeply raked roofline as well as a large rear wing. While looking fairly production ready, the prototype appeared to lack door handles.
Both the coupe-crossover and Q4 e-tron will have a WLTP maximum range of 450 km (280 miles) in AWD form and be powered by two motors, the combined output of which will be 225 kW (302 hp). The 510 kg lithium ion battery pack of the concept had a stated output of 82 kWh. RWD cars will have an additional 50 km of range.
Both Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback will be built at the Volkswagen Group’s Zwickau factory in Germany’s east.
Audi of America did not publicise the debut of the Q4 e-tron Sportback, which suggests that the US importer at least will not offer the production model.
The Q5 Sportback would be added to the Audi line-up later in the year, the company told the media in March at a financial results press conference. Sure enough, eight months later, the range of variants was announced. Sales won’t commence until the first half of 2021 though.
In standard wheelbase form at least, this coupe-SUV has a 510-litre boot, down 40 on that of the Q5. The Sportback is aimed at the same segment as the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupé. An extended wheelbase Q5 L Sportback premiered at the Beijing motor show in September, with images of the Q5 Sportback revealed online on the same day. In addition to the different rear, the Sportback and L Sportback have different grilles to the Q5 (and Q5 L).
Like the Q5 upon which it is based, the Sportback is manufactured at the San José Chiapa plant. The Mexican factory also supplies CKD kits to FAW Volkswagen for assembly in Changchun. There will inevitably be other derivatives, including S, RS and PHEV variants. The life cycle should be short, a new generation due around 2024 just after the arrival of the next generation Q5 line-up.
Sized above the Q5 and below the Q7, the e-tron and e-tron Sportback really should have been called Q6 e-tron and Q6 e-tron Sportback. Audi added faster, modified versions of both in August. The e-tron S and e-tron Sportback S have maximum power and torque of 370 kW and 973 Nm (718 lb ft). However, those outputs are reproducible for only eight seconds in each case. The nominal values in D gear without boost are 320 kW and 808 Nm (596 lb ft). The default in ordinary conditions is rear-wheel drive.
There are three motors, two of which are on the rear axle. The largest one which powers the rear axle in the e-tron 55 and e-tron 55 Sportback, is installed on the front axle in an adapted design and configured for 124 kW of power, or 150 kW during boost. The smaller motor works in a modified form at the rear, together with a counterpart which is identical in design; together, they offer 196 kW of power, or 264 kW in boost mode.
The e-tron S and e-tron Sportback S are distinguished by, among other changes, wheelarches widened by 23 mm. They should be facelifted in 2023 and replaced during the second half of 2026.
The replacement for the Q7 seems likely to become an EV. The potential for a Q7 e-tron follows the November statement by Volkswagen that its vans plant in Hanover/Hannover will build three electric ‘D-SUVs’ as well as other next generation LCVs and passenger vans. The other two D-SUVs would logically be the replacement for the VW Touareg and a possible Seat, Cupra or Skoda model.
Handelsblatt offered a differing, unusual take on Volkswagen’s possible plans, a translation claiming that a “flagship electric car for Audi, Porsche, Bentley” would be built in the factory. The project is said to be codenamed ‘Roadjet‘ and part of Audi AG’s Artemis initiative.
The German language newspaper claims an Audi SUV would be the first of three models, its launch in 2024 supposedly followed by models for the two luxury brands. Building high-end vehicles within a vans plant would be an unusual move.
It might be the case that Audi ends up selling two Q7s, or rather one basic model with combustion engines including a TFSI e (plug-in petrol hybrid) plus the electric Q7 e-tron for markets where such a vehicle has some potential, such as Europe and China as well as some parts of the USA.
The Q8 has been in production for two and a half years now, and won’t be due for a facelift until 2022. While Bratislava is the only plant building this big coupe-SUV, SAIC Volkswagen is said to be planning on assembling the model at a factory in Ningbo: China is one of the vehicle’s best markets. All versions, including the SQ8 and RS Q8, are scheduled to be replaced in 2026 although a successor for the SQ8 TDI seems unlikely.
Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.
Future platform intelligence
More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of GlobalData’s Automotive Intelligence Center. That includes many other Audi crossovers and SUVs not reported on above.
This is the fourth report in a series which highlights certain current and future models from the passenger vehicle divisions of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. It follows a look at VW cars; VW SUVs, MPVs and pick-ups; and Audi cars. Next, it’s Porsche, then Škoda, SEAT and Cupra, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti.