Just how high will the numbers go?

    The Audi Q9 is reportedly the next SUV from Audi, slotting above the Audi Q7 and its sportier Q8 sibling.

    This prototype is mostly wearing a Volkswagen Atlas/Teramont body, though it appears production sheetmetal has been used at the front if not production headlights.

    It’ll reportedly offer a third row of seating but larger dimensions than the Q7, giving Audi a direct rival for the likes of the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS.

    Our spy photographers note the camouflage used on this mule spied in Sweden is the same kind used on prototype Audis in China.

    It seems unlikely Audi would make a large, three-row SUV a Chinese exclusive, however, considering the potential demand in markets like North America and the Middle East. This isn’t a long-wheelbase A6L, after all.

    We don’t yet know what engines will power the Q9, though it’s possible Audi will borrow from the Q8 engine line-up.

    The current flagship SUV from the four-ring brand offers a choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains.

    Australia has so far missed out on the new Q8 55 TFSI e and 60 TFSI e plug-in hybrids, which mate an electric motor and 17.8kWh lithium-ion battery to the Q8’s 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 and offer 45-47km of electric range.

    Reports of an Audi Q9 come after our spy photographers captured a BMW X8 flagship to slot above the X7, while Volvo is reportedly planning an XC100 flagship.

    Audi is also reportedly 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 cooler codename Landjet.

    Likely to wear a fastback body, the Mercedes-Benz EQS rival is due in 2024.

    It’s expected to use the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) and offer an electric range of 650km. In comparison, an Audi E-Tron GT offers up to 488km of range.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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