A full-size Audi Q9 SUV isn't official just yet. In fact, aside from a Q9 trademark filing, there have only been rumours about such a vehicle and they've been floating around the internet for years. Those rumours received new life back in January, when a report claimed the SUV would debut by the end of 2020. However, the year is almost over and Q9 news has been nonexistent. Until now.
This unofficial rendering comes to us courtesy of Motor.es, and if it looks familiar, that's because it is based on the Q7. With the rendering comes some tantalizing information that Q9 test mules are out and about, and a production model could arrive for the 2022 model year.
That seems like a short timeframe considering we've yet to see any camouflaged prototypes, but we also know that automakers can keep secrets if they really want to. We often get first glimpses of Nissan vehicles mere weeks before a debut, and remember the surprise Ford GT reveal that deflated the Honda NSX revival a few years back?
Word is that Audi is indeed keeping Q9 information tightly in check, but there could be some cracks in the wall. According to Motor.es, the big SUV is based on the Q7 but will have dimensions that surpass the Bentley Bentayga. It will offer three-row seating, but upscale versions will also feature two rows that can nix five-seat capacity for four-seat opulence. In that sense, it will very much be a large luxury SUV designed to battle the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.
Gallery: 2020 Audi Q7
As such, it will also have significant power under the bonnet. Current rumours point to the familiar twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 making around 600 bhp, with plug-in hybrid powertrains also planned. At this time, there are reportedly no plans to go further into the performance realm with either S or RS versions.
If the Q9 is on Audi's docket for 2022, it's likely we could see some test vehicles soon. We will certainly keep our eyes peeled.