For most car enthusiasts, massive luxury SUVs are quite frustrating. They’re overly expensive, needlessly large and incredibly thirsty, which is about the worst possible combination for a vehicle in this current climate. Yet, it’s still probably wise for Audi to make an even bigger, more expensive and even thirstier SUV than it already has.
At the moment, the biggest SUV in the Audi lineup is the Q7. While the Q8 is the top-end SUV in the lineup, it’s the actually Q7 that’s the largest. And while the Q7 is the largest Audi SUV, it’s still not as large as the largest SUVs from its competitors. For instance, the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class both dwarf the Q7. Rather than compete with the X7 and GLS, the Audi Q7 is only big enough to take on the smaller X5 and GLE-Class.
Both the X7 and GLS are needlessly massive (though surprisingly very good) and almost entirely unnecessary but they’re also both surprisingly popular. Premium customers love their mammoth luxury SUVs and both BMW and Mercedes-Benz sell a lot of them. It’s a segment that’s white-hot right now but one Audi is completely left out of.
For BMW and Mercedes, building the X7 and GLS isn’t much more expensive than building the X5 and GLE, respectively. Despite being barely more expensive, the two brands can jack the prices up and make bigger profit margins. Those big profits can be put toward making more exciting and interesting cars. They could potentially fund advancements in EV and autonomous technology.
That fact is made even worse by the fact that its aforementioned rivals even sell uber-luxurious, special edition versions of their monster SUVs, such as the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 and all-new ALPINA XB7. Those special edition versions sell for far more than their standard models, which means both brands make an even bigger killing. Because Audi lacks a car in that segment, it misses out on all the tasty profit margins.
It’s not that the Audi Q7 is small, as it’s a three-row SUV as-standard, but it’s smaller than the aforementioned BMW and Mercedes and that matters in this market, specifically in America. Here, in the ‘States, mammoth SUVs sell extremely well, making it a highly profitable segment.
So Audi might need to make an even larger SUV, one that can compete with the likes of the X7 and Mercedes-GLS. It could be called the Q9, maybe it could even be an e-tron model. Either way, Audi would likely do well to create something in that space.