The Audi Q7 is currently Audi’s largest SUV in the lineup, but it doesn’t seem to stay that way for long. A seemingly even larger SUV of the marque can be seen on a brand new set of spy plates. Perhaps the Q9 that has been speculated on for years.
With a length of 5.05 meters, the Audi Q7 is the largest SUV on the Audi menu, a car that must tolerate the second 5-meter-long Q8 above in the Audi hierarchy. These two SUVs will soon appear to have a model above them purely in terms of size. Audi has started testing what appears to be an even larger model, a car that we will call the Q9 in this article. Already in 2013, the first rumors about the possible arrival of a Q9 surfaced when it turned out that Audi had registered this model name.
We explicitly write that the Q9 in these photos will be placed above the Q7 and Q8 only in terms of size. The question is whether the car will actually be positioned above these SUVs. The new SUV clearly has an Audi face, with a large grille acting as the grille and an angular front bumper laced with large cooling vents. The final headlights are still missing, but there are already characteristic Audi lighting units at the rear. However, the body of the car bears great similarities to that of the Volkswagen Atlas, the SUV known in China as the Teramont. The window line and wheel arch design of this test car appear to match those of the Atlas. Although the Atlas and Teramont are taller than the Touareg, in the United States and China they are a step lower on the status scale than the Touareg. The Touareg, like the Audi Q7, Q8, Porsche Cayenne, and Bentley Bentayga, uses Audi’s MLBevo platform, while the Atlas is based on MQB.
It is therefore quite possible that the Audi “Q9” visible in these photos will even become an extended version of the Atlas, a car that will only be marketed in China. The camouflage work with which the photographed specimen is covered has a different pattern than the stickers with which Audi normally tries to protect the design of its newcomers from the outside world, although this does not necessarily mean nothing. There are also ‘coupe versions’ of the Atlas and Teramont, Atlas Cross Sport and Teramont X respectively, so even more SUV expansion seems possible at Audi.
Of course, there is also another possibility. It could be that the broken test sample is a so-called mule, and Audi is using the Volkswagen Teramont body to hide technology from a brand new model. If the Q9 nevertheless became a car positioned above the Q7 and Q8, it would be a car with which Audi would respond to cars such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the BMW X7. For now, Audi’s newcomer is in any case still shrouded in thick fog.