The Audi e-tron family is set to expand with the Audi Q7 next to utilise electric motor technology.
Speaking at the launch of the brand's first local advertising campaign tagged 'land of quattro', Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle confirmed that a Q7 e-tron model will be shown before the six-year-old current generation is replaced in late 2015.
Audi has previously shown the A1 e-tron concept - which utilised a rotary-powered engine in tandem with an electric motor - and more recently the production A3 e-tron, which will be the first e-tron model to arrive in Australia sometime next year.
While the A3 e-tron, shown at the 2013 Geneva motor show, combines a 110kW 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a 75kW electric motor to claim just 1.5L/100km, Doyle wouldn’t confirm what powertrain combination the Q7 e-tron would use.
“We have a plan going forward for e-tron,” told Doyle. “It will be rolled out across all the models now…”
This is despite Audi’s recent decision to ditch the R8 e-tron flagship, something the local MD says is “a question of having the right product available at the right time when the market’s ready for it,” implicitly hinting that the supercar market may not be ready for an all-electric supercar.
“I don’t see it [R8 e-tron] as a major thing for us. We’ll launch [locally] with A3, followed by Q7…”
Asked whether Audi will wait until the next-generation Q7 to introduce an e-tron petrol-electric version, Doyle replied “I think it’s this generation.”
Although Doyle confirmed that the next Q7 will continue to share its platform with the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne, he “couldn’t answer” why the Audi version would not be released until 2015 when its near-twin siblings switched to their respective new-generation models last year.
“The mid-life improvement was quite substantial, but otherwise there’s no real reason [for the delay],” added the local MD.
“It [Q7] is still doing quite well actually, worldwide and in Australia.”
Where the Audi Q5 outsells its BMW X3 arch rival in the medium SUV segment, the Q7 lags behind its BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz ML-Class competitors in the large SUV class.
This is something Doyle hopes will change with the 2015 new-generation model.
“The new one will give that [title] a good chance,” he said.
“It was our first foray into SUV with Q7 so … I think the second model lifecycle will give it a good shake I reckon.
“We’re looking forward to getting it”.