The rumoured Audi A9 limousine looks set to become a reality, after the company’s boss reportedly gave the go-ahead for the new model to go into production.
According to an article by Autocar, the German marque’s new flagship will sit above the A8 in the line-up when it launches by the end of the decade, sharing numerous components with the upcoming Q6 e-tron SUV.
“We’ll start with the production version of the e-tron quattro concept car (Q6 e-tron), which will have a range of up to 500 kilometres. By 2025, 25 per cent of our line-up will be battery-driven models.”
Stadler didn’t officially call the new sedan the A9, however he said to Autocar that it will be “as high up as possible, in the A8 segment”.
Above: 2015 Audi e-tron quattro concept
The new A9 is believed to pack the performance to rival the Tesla Model S, likely using the three electric motor layout used by the Q6 e-tron – one up the front driving the front wheels while the other two motors power each rear wheel.
For the e-tron quattro concept, the triplet of electric motors deliver a combined output of up to 370kW in its most powerful mode, with a huge 800Nm of torque also on tap.
The 0-100km/h sprint is disposed of in 4.6 seconds, on its way to a limited top speed of 210km/h.
Above: 2014 Audi Prologue concept
According to the report, under the floor will sit a liquid-cooled 95kWh battery, which can be charged via cable or the company’s 11kWh inductive charging option – which will come with an autonomous parking feature that parks the vehicle over the charging plate.
Speaking of autonomous technology, the A9 e-tron will push Audi further towards fully-autonomous driving with level four autonomous systems.
The next-generation A8 limousine will arrive next year with level three technology, which actively scans its environment, along with being able to accelerate, decelerate and steer without requiring the driver’s hands on the wheel.
Audi’s next generation S-Class competitor will be capable of driving itself at speeds of up to 60km/h.
Ricky Hudi, Audi’s head of electric development, said level four will be even more advanced.
“Level four is challenging because it requires considerable improvements to sensors and processing power,” he said.
“But it represents a big leap, because the car will be able to drive itself in many situations – not only the motorway.”
Expect the A9 e-tron to be revealed closer to its launch around 2020.