A prototype of the 2022 Audi Q9 has been spied at the Nürburgring featuring a production-style body.

Slotting above the Audi Q7 and its sportier Q8 sibling, earlier prototypes were spied with an Audi front end and Volkswagen Atlas/Teramont bodies.

This particular prototype also has production headlights and tail lights unlike the fake, circular ones that were used on previous prototypes.

The Q9 prototype appears to be quite long and will reportedly offer a third row of seating as well as a large boot.

Up until this point Audi hasn’t had any SUV large enough to directly compete against the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS, but this vehicle could plug this gap.

We don’t yet know what engines will power the Audi Q9, but a plug-in hybrid TFSI e powertrain is expected to make its way into the production version.

Thus far Australia has missed out on the 55 TFSI e and 60 TSFI plug-in hybrids available on the Q7 and Q8 in other markets, which mate an electric motor and 17.8kWh lithium-ion battery to a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 and offer 45-47km of electric range.

According to our spy photographers, the camouflage used on the Q9 prototype isn’t what would normally be used on European prototypes.

Instead, the prototype has a similar kind of camouflage to that used on Audi prototypes in China.

This could indicate that the Chinese division of Audi is heading the development of the Q9 and could see it become a Chinese-market only model just like the Q5 E-Tron.

This hasn’t been confirmed though, and the Audi Q9 could also make its way to other markets later on.

It seems unlikely Audi would make a large, three-row SUV a Chinese exclusive, considering the potential demand in markets like North America and the Middle East.

It’s predicted the Audi Q9 will be revealed at some point in 2022.

Audi has also reportedly been working on an all-electric flagship as part of its Artemis program that could be called A9 e-tron, though it’s being developed under the codename Landjet.

Previewed by the Grandsphere concept and set to use the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) co-developed by Audi and Porsche, the Mercedes-Benz EQS rival is due in 2024.

The Grandsphere uses a 120kWh battery and a dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain with 530kW of power and 960Km of torque.

Range is a claimed 750km on the stricter WLTP standard. The e-tron GT, in comparison, offers up to 488km of range.

MORE: Audi Q9 spied

Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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