The Volkswagen Group has agreed to halt its brand-buying spree, at least for now, although we believe that Dr. Ferdinand Piech would snatch Alfa Romeo from Fiat’s hands at the first opportunity.
What it won’t stop doing, though, is continuing to expand the portfolio of its existing brands. One would think that with the Audi Q7, the Porsche Cayenne and the upcoming Bentley EXP 9 F, the German group has the full-size premium SUV segment pretty well covered.
Apparently, that’s a false assumption: according to a CAR magazine report, Audi has given the green light for a new crossover possibly named Q8 that will be based on the next-generation Touareg/Q7/Cayenne platform with a launch date in 2017.
The powers-that-be at Ingolstadt have decided that the “regular” Q SUVs will have odd numbers, i.e. Q3, Q5 and Q7 while their sportier offspring will get even-numbers (Q4, Q6 and Q8).
Thus, the Q8 won’t be your normal luxo-barge on stilts but a more stylish, coupe-like crossover. The project is in a relatively advanced state; it has already gone through the (mandatory) customer clinic surveys, which gave it the thumbs-up, and the British publication's sources claim that Audi already has set an annual production target of 25,000 units.
The same insiders have revealed that using the group’s next-gen platform, which employs quite a lot of aluminum in its construction, allows for a saving of nearly 300 kg (660 pounds) compared to today’s Q7. Given that the Q7 weighs, depending on engine and equipment, more than 2.3 tons, this will bring the Q8 close to, or even bellow, the two-ton mark.
Last, but not least, the Q8 will be powered by a variety of V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines, including hybrids for the “green” brigade and a range-topping 550bhp RS version.
By Andrew Tsaousis