With gasoline prices in the US now below $2.00 again in a few spots, you can bet that any large SUV idea is seeming brilliant in Germany. The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and BMW X7 are two key segments where Audi is not competing with its fierce rivals. The GLE-Class Coupe and the BMW X6 is another huge market opportunity where Audi's lack of large SUVs makes it a non-competitor.
Not matching Mercedes and BMW for every model in the cheaper price ranges might make sense for Audi. But these giant SUVs have the fattest profit margins in the car business, so Audi is eager to join the fray with new variants on its latest modular Q7 component set.
Enter, the chop-roof Q8 and the LWB, tall-roof and long-trunk Q8. Simple enough. Sure, these might seem silly to some people, but they only need one Yes answer to justify their spot in the lineup. The question?
If these Q6 and Q8 were in the Audi lineup today, would they each sell at least 10,000 units in the critical US market?
The answer is a big yes. Might they cannibalize Q7 sales? Perhaps, but not more than 25-percent.
And they would sell for $80,000-plus in the rendered S Q6 and S Q8 engine levels. A no-brainer, really.
It looks like a matter of production capacity to not roll them out tomorrow. The names are already trademarked, so expect these models before 2020 at the latest.
The Q8, incidentally, will be very popular in Kuwait and other big-money markets too...
2016 Audi Q7
2016 Audi SQ7
2017 Audi Q6
2017 Audi Q8
2017 Audi Q6 and Audi Q8
S Q7 Rendering
Here is an exclusive look at how the new Audi Q7 might look as an S or even an RS Q7. Despite the current Q7 S-line being the sportiest trim offered, the strong rumor is that this generation of Q7 will have performance upgrades in the trim structure. This will make sense to battle the Mercedes GLS63 AMG, formerly called the GL-Class -- as well as the BMW X7 M Sport.
We've prepared two angles to review, plus a few grille trims to see how the new Q7's style takes to the latest gloss-black themes. Overall, the appearance of a much larger and sportier wheel makes the most difference to the Q7's style. Well, that and tinted windows!
The Audi press Q7 shown here in the original images is already the S-line, so the feasibility of wheels this large is unknown, of course.
2016 Audi SQ7