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Audi plots future line-up expansion

autos Updated: Apr 23, 2013 13:01 IST
Audi suv

Audi is looking to dramatically expand its SUV line-up, and a large new luxury model above the Audi Q7 could crown the range. It is likely to be badged the Q8 and sources suggest that it would combine a Range Rover Sport-style sporting look with a very luxurious interior, on par with the company's A8 limo.

"SUVs are our biggest priority," Audi technical chief Wolfgang Durheimer told Autocar UK at the Shanghai motor show. "And an SUV bigger than the Q7 is one we could do. It would fit in our offerings. Bentley has shown what can be done with a car of this size. I pushed for the Bentley SUV and I'm pushing for Audi to make something in this segment also. I could see Bentley and Audi both making SUVs, and Lamborghini also; in my job [Lamborghini is under the control of the Audi brand] I'm trying to encourage the Lamborghini SUV project to progress."

Durheimer said internal competition was encouraged and that the models wouldn't overlap. "There is no limit at VW on market access or price strategy as long as you have a business case," he said. An Audi Q2 compact SUV was also described by Durheimer as a "top priority". The only limits to Audi's future model expansion would be "R&D budgets and engineering man power", said Durheimer.

Additionally, after rivals BMW and Mercedes recently showcased shooting brake models, Durheimer said he could “imagine an Audi model” like these.

"We're interested but have not decided to show what size of car it would be yet," he said, hinting Audi had several options as to how to make a shooting brake available to it. When asked about the possibility of Audi making an MPV, Durheimer said, "I think yes. I would exclude boxy body styling, a real people mover though. It would need to be stylish and present the values of the company."

One model he has no plans to resurrect is the Audi A2, a car that was killed before he arrived at Audi from Bentley last year.

More plug-in hybrids are also set to be offered by Audi, the first of which is the A3 e-tron. Durheimer sees plug-in hybrids as a much more viable short- and medium-term solution than pure electric cars, and as such Audi has no plans to launch a pure electric model.

Its first electric car was going to be the R8 e-tron, but this project was cancelled late last year.