The Q1 will be the first of several new Q models from Audi
The new S1 will partly preview Audi's new design direction
Sources say Audi is also about to move towards a new design language and a strategy that will emphasise its quattro four-wheel-drive technology on certain models.
Audi technical chief Ulrich Hackenberg said at the Detroit motor show that the Q range had “lots of potential”.
A Q1 baby SUV is planned for 2016. It will be based on the VW Group’s MQB platform and be built in Germany, with the next-generation Q5 shifting to Mexico to make production capacity available for it.
“We can go up after that [with a Q8 or Q9] and can also go in-between our current Q cars with a model between the Q3 and Q5 or one between the Q5 and Q7,” said Hackenberg. “These are projects we are discussing and working on.
“You can go sportier with Q cars but you can also be more MPV-like with more seats. Q can be a way of thinking, presenting a lifestyle. We need cars with more seats; MPVs are not fashionable but SUVs are, so why not combine both? The Q6 is a theory for this.”
The new face of Audi models may become more horizontally orientated, in contrast to the vertical emphasis of today’s grille, insiders suggested.
This new design impetus will create more difference between the individual models, which have been criticised for being too Russian doll-like in their conception.
The plan for a ‘quattro’ design language is intended to emphasise Audi’s long-held all-wheel-drive heritage. Audi pioneered four-wheel drive for mass-market road cars with the original 1979 Quattro coupé.
One of the first ‘quattro-style’ models is expected to be the upcoming S1, caught here as an engineering mule. Today’s quattro models are hard to identify other than by their badging; the plan is to highlight their capability with more muscular styling, much like the first Audi Quattro did.
Additional reporting by Richard Bremner