Audi to Preview Radical New A9
Audi is set to showcase an advanced four-door concept that reveals the new design language to be adopted by all of its future models.
The concept will be unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show in November and will also preview a new aluminium-intensive flagship.
The as yet unnamed concept is currently under construction at Audi’s prototype workshop in Ingolstadt. It is claimed to reveal the direction in style that Audi models – from the entry-level A1 through to next year’s successor to the Q7 – will take under the company’s new design boss, Marc Lichte.
The concept also provides the first tacit clues to the size, shape, appearance, packaging and features of the long-mooted A9 – a high-tech range-topping model scheduled for launch in 2017.
Planned to sit at the very top of the Audi range, the A9 has been conceived to rival the recent wave of design-led luxury saloons, including the Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide and he high-end versions of the Mercedes-Benz CLS.
The A9 is based on the latest evolution of Audi’s MLB platform. It shares its mechanical and electrical package with the upcoming fifth-generation A8, alongside which the A9 is due to be produced at Audi’s Neckarsulm factory.
As with its established four-door sibling, the new flagship saloon-cum-coupé adopts Audi’s latest aluminium spaceframe construction and other weight-reducing initiatives, including the use of carbonfibre in non-load-bearing elements.
Secrecy surrounds the powertrain that Audi intends to showcase on its latest concept in Los Angeles. However, Audi sources confirm that it will be relevant to the production version of the A9, which has been engineered to support front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, in line with the new A8.
Among the engines planned for the big four-door are a new twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 and a revised version of Audi’s existing twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8. A performance-orientated S9 model is expected to use the twin-turbo V8 and have as much as 600bhp.
The petrol engines will be joined by the latest evolution of Audi’s 3.0-litre V6 diesel, in single and electrically operated twin-turbo guises. There will also be a new 4.0-litre V8 diesel, which is currently undergoing development at parent firm Volkswagen’s R&D centre in Braunschweig, Germany.
Two plug-in hybrid options are also planned for a pair of A9 e-tron models. Set to be unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January, the petrol-electric and diesel-electric combinations will first be introduced to the new, second-generation Q7, due for launch next year.
They are set to provide the A9 e-tron with a zero-emissions electric range of up to 31 miles and a CO2 output of less than 80g/km.
As well as previewing the exterior design of future Audis, the Los Angeles concept will showcase new interior developments, including the future direction of Audi’s new digital instrument cluster, as found in the latest TT, and new connectivity options to be made available on the new A8 and its A9 sibling.