Audi engineers are formulating plans to possibly build a “super saloon” luxury off-roader SUV in 2027, It would compete in a segment that now includes the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Class, according to a report in Britain’s Autocar.
According to Audi designer Marc Lichte, quoted in the story, the platform for the new model could be borrowed from the Volkswagen Group’s recently announced sister brand, Scout Motors, which is currently developing electric-powered concepts and prototypes.
While Audi has developed a PPE (Premium Platform Electric) architecture for its base EV lineup, that would be replaced in the planned model with Scout’s ladder chassis to provide the steep departure angles and ground clearance needed to negotiate tough terrain, as well as with the latest generation of Audi’s Quattro four-wheel-drive technology, Autocar reports.
Audi is well into development of its Activesphere project, an enticing design blend of coupe and hatchback. The Activesphere uses PPE, co-developed by Audi and Porsche, and will appear in a production Audi product by the end of this year. Audi says.
Beyond that, “I think there is space” for a rugged SUV in Audi’s passenger car lineup, Lichte said.
“There is potential because there are only two premium players” in this particular segment” (Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover) “and I think there is a space for a third one.”
The upscale Defender was by far Land Rover’s best-selling car last year, with 66,805 sold, and the G-Class set a new sales record the previous year with 41,174 moved worldwide. Audi obviously would like to capitalize on this popularity of the rugged 4×4 segment. The proposed competitor, said Lichte, “will not look like a G-Class and it will not look like a Defender, I can promise you. It will be something else.”