It's still puzzling why Audi hasn't launched a full-size luxury SUV. Mercedes has been selling the GL/GLS since 2006 while the BMW X7 has been around since 2018. But finally, that could change. With reports of a Q9 swirling for years, Audi Australia director Jeff Mannering said in an interview with CarSales that a flagship SUV could arrive by 2026.

When asked whether a larger and more expensive Q model would make sense, he said: "Yes of course. If you just look at volume versus different brands, we're not in some segments that others are in. Let's see what happens in the next 24 months." When asked to talk about the model's moniker, Jeff Mannering smiled and agreed "Q9" is a catchy name.

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The Audi Q9 is likely to land before 2026 as Automotive News reported US dealers could have the luxobarge on sale in 2025. The report published in 2022 alleged the Q9 would be a true seven-seater SUV with ample legroom for third-row occupants. Its main markets are expected to be the United States and China.

Dealers in North America were informed about the model's arrival more than a year ago. If planned, the Q9 will be among the last new Audi models to be launched with combustion engines. From 2026, all vehicles out of Ingolstadt will be EVs. In the long run, the goal is to stop production of ICE cars by 2032, with a potential extension in China depending on local demand.

The Q9 won't be the only change to Audi’s SUV lineup since the not-for-America Q2 is going to be retired after just one generation. In the meantime, the fully electric Q6 E-Tron is coming out this year, and it's bringing along a sleeker Q6 E-Tron Sportback. Confusingly, Audi already sells a gas-powered Q6 in China as a three-row SUV.

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