As the Audi Q3 moves into production and distribution, Automobile Magazine's European contributor and usual suspect in our News & Rumors coverage Georg Kacher has filed an intel report on Ingolstadt's master plan toward crossover expansion. Turns out Q7, Q5 and now Q3 are only the beginning.
Here's a quick run-down.
Several concepts are being evaluated for this slot, but the easiest is obviously a taller 5-door body on the chassis of the A1. This first scenario could be out as early as 2013 as it would use the car's current PQ25 architecture. A second plan suggests putting the Q1 off until 2016 and going straight to the next-generation MQB modular transverse matrix that'll underpin the upcoming A3 and next all-new generation of A1. Finally, Audi could also go with something shared with the upcoming lightweight A2. According to Kacher, the last two scenarios seem most likely.
Not yet confirmed for USA, but Kacher's sources tell him possibly by 2014... which would make it the mid-lifecycle product improvement (PI) version. Our sources echo this.
Just what the Q4 will be exactly remains to be seen but Kacher seems confident that a Q4 is in the cards. It sounds like three scenarios are being considered for this slot - 1) an elegant 2-door crossover, an super sporty flared high performance model that sounds like a crossover with some rally car DNA, and 3) a more capable off-roader with rugged design, adjustable suspension, etc. that sounds a bit more like the first-generation Volkswagen Touareg in spirit.
Coupe-like, expect this sportback-ish offering to line up squarely with BMW's controversial but hot-selling X6. Kacher says Audi will differentiate from its Munich rival with better looks, more spacious rear passenger area, more cargo capability.
Kacher says the Q6 will be based on the Q5 but this is a bit vague. Q5 is based on Audi's modular longitudinal architecture (MLB) and so too will be the next Q7 and literally every other Audi larger than the A4. Just how much is shared with the Q5 or more opulent siblings like the A6/A7 remains to be seen.
Interestingly, Kacher also says the Q6 will use the 3.0T but that this engine will drop its supercharged configuration for a single turbo setup that'll be good for 300 hp and 400 Nm of torque. Even better, it's said to consume 20% less fuel.
Kacher's intel gives two possible launch estimates for Q6. One suggests as early as 2013 along with the Q5's PI, but more than likely is 2016 when the all-new second-generation Q5 is expected.
<b>Porsche Lends to the Madness</b>
If this all sounds a bit crossover crazy to you, we're guessing you're not alone. How can Audi justify such wide mix of seemingly tailored crossovers? Well, for one reason the economies of scale on the company's modular platforms are simply that much better that they allow for this sort of model proliferation at relatively affordable overhead. The other factor in play though is Porsche who plans its own high-roofed/crossover expansion. For instance, the 2-door Q4 is suggested to be a developmental twin to a shooting brake 2-door version of the upcoming Q5-based Porsche Cajun (baby Cayenne).
<b>Learn More Over at Automobile</b>
Though our summary above is thorough, there's still more to be gleaned from the Automobile intel report penned by Kacher. Check it out via the link below.