To make sure that it reaches its target to become the world's leading premium car maker by 2015, Audi is expanding its range down as well as moving further upmarket. We already know that Audi is producing the A1 and A2 superminis but it has only recently announced that it is coming up with a new Audi A9.
CEO Rupert Stadler and R&D chief Michael Dick are currently focused on a full-size two-door flagship that will likely be based on the current A8. The high-end four-seater is known internally as A9. It has been fitted with a bespoke exterior and features an interior that has evolved from that of the A8.
The A9 will be assembled in Neckarsulm together with the saloon and the R8. It could arrive as soon as 2014 in a coupe version. Sources who have seen the initial design sketches say that the A9 is very striking.
Audi is planning a soft-top conversion that is expected to arrive in the market in 2015, roughly six months before the next-gen Mercedes CL cabriolet is scheduled to arrive. When it comes to the price, the new Audi A9 will be slotted higher than the BMW 6-series but will fall under the CL.
This means that it will be priced at about £75,000. A decade ago, Audi released the A8 Avantissimo concept that was intended to become a mega-Avant for the wealthy consumers.
Product strategy committee PSK rejected the first proposal but it let a more coupe-like A8 Avant pass through the tests except for its last one in 2004. Audi considered making the A7 as its new halo car and to build a four-door soft-top from the same components set. But this project also failed to prosper.