Audi To Expand Lineup, Focus on New SUVs, Coupes | Edmunds

Audi To Expand Lineup, Focus on New SUVs, Coupes

LOS ANGELES — Audi's lineup will continue to expand to 60 models by the end of the decade. This growth will focus on new SUVs and coupes, together with distinct models offering alternative powertrains.

The Audi Prologue concept car, which debuted this week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, previews Audi's future design direction. According to the new design director, Marc Lichte, it incorporates elements of the next-generation A8, A7 and A6, and may also preview an Audi A9 luxury coupe to rival the BMW 6 Series and the Mercedes S-Class Coupe.

Lichte only officially joined Audi in February but told Edmunds that the design of the A8, A7 and A6 has already been approved by the board, and car shoppers should expect to see the A8 debuting first in early 2016.

Audi's "Q" range of SUVs will also expand. Topping the range will be a Q8, a luxury crossover to take on the BMW X6, Range Rover Sport and the forthcoming Mercedes MLC. Although it will be based on the Q7, the focus will be on style and performance rather than practicality.

At the other end of the range, Lichte confirmed Audi is working on a Q1 to satiate the burgeoning demand for subcompact crossovers, although whether this model comes to the U.S. remains to be seen.

Although Audi's chassis technology allows for the inclusion of electric powertrains in existing models, Lichte confirmed the company is working on a stand-alone EV with distinctive styling. This would most likely rival the BMW i3, but Lichte didn't rule out a family of new electric cars.

Audi is also hedging its bets on hydrogen power. At the Los Angeles auto show, it showed off the A7 Sportback h-tron quattro, and while there are no immediate plans for production, that might change if there is sufficient demand.

Hybrids are also an important part of Audi's future plans, and the designer hinted that a production version of the Sport Quattro was imminent. Last seen at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show in hybrid form, the rally-inspired coupe would sit above the TT in Audi's lineup and alongside the next-generation R8.

Edmunds says: With a lineup this big, Audi will soon need an auto show all to itself.

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