Audi looks set to follow in Tesla’s footsteps and offer its new A9 as a luxurious electric-only model. This new car, designed to rival the likes of the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and upcoming BMW 8 Series, will be the third in a series of all-electric vehicles from Audi to go on sale before 2020.
The German brand aims to increase production of electric cars to represent almost 25 per cent of its total output by 2025. This plan includes, alongside the new A9, a production version of the e-tron quattro Concept – called the Q6 e-tron – and a replacement for the current generation A3 e-tron.
The new A9’s styling will be inspired by the elegant Prologue Concept car. Not only will it boast similarly slinky proportions, but it could be offered as a four-door saloon and a stylish shooting brake estate alongside a conventional two-door coupe.
Audi plans to equip the new A9 with three electric motors – one driving the front wheels and two acting on the rear – powered by a 95kWh battery pack. Not only should this drivetrain offer an impressive 310-mile range, but mounting the batteries beneath the floor will allow Audi to offer the A9 with wireless charging capabilities. This technology uses inductive charging plates built into dedicated parking bays to replace a typical charging cable – similar to modern wireless phone chargers.
The A9 will reportedly come with more advanced autonomous driving capabilities than any car the German manufacturer currently offers. The next generation A8 will be capable of guiding itself independently on motorways at speeds of up to 37mph – perfect for seemingly endless commutes on a gridlocked M25 – but the A9’s system should come with a more comprehensive skill set.
Rupert Stadler, Audi’s CEO, has confirmed the Q6 e-tron will be capable of reaching 62mph from rest in just 4.1 seconds and power its way to an electronically limited 131mph. We expect the A9 to be slightly faster, however, thanks to its more aerodynamic body and potentially lighter weight.
No official prices have been announced but we expect the A9 to cost significantly more than the current Audi A8 flagship. Entry-level models could set you back at least £70,000, rising to nearly £100,000 for top-spec versions.
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New Audi A9 price, specs and release date (updated August 2016)
Ever since Audi revealed the Prologue Coupe Concept in 2014, rumours have persisted of a potential production model called the Audi A9. When it makes its debut, it’ll become the most luxurious car the German brand has built, taking on the Mercedes S-Class Coupe and the Porsche Panamera.
It’s not yet known what form the new model will take – whether saloon, coupe or even a luxurious estate. Read on for everything we know about the new model and check out our exclusive renders showing what we reckon the new model will look like.
Audi A9 styling
The look of the new A9 will not only take inspiration from the Prologue Concept, but steer Audi’s future designs in a new direction. The grille will be wider and sharper than that of current models, and a concave shape defines the car’s face for a streamlined appearance.
The flanks will ditch the current single crease typical of most Audis for something more muscular: one line will cross through the centre of the doors from front to rear, while a couple of extra creases could form square-shaped wheel arches – a nod to the iconic original Audi Quattro rally car.
Audi A9 interior
The Prologue Concept’s stunning four-seat interior design shows Audi isn’t content with its current class-leading cabins. Though the A9’s dashboard is likely to be toned down, certain features, such as the multiple display screens whose information can be passed from one to another via swiping motions, might find their way into the production car.
Audi A9 driving and engines
The A9 will flaunt the brands know-how with a wide array of automotive tech. A 48-volt electronic system – as seen on the SQ7 – will manage settings for the springs, dampers, differential and four-wheel steering. The latter allows the rear wheels to turn up to five degrees, improving both cornering agility and high-speed stability.
The same uprated electrical system should help Audi fit it’s fanciest autonomous tech, too. Expect the A9 to sport a combination of cameras, radars and laser scanners to allow it to drive with minimal driver input if needed.
The silky W12 petrol engine found in the A8 is almost certain to feature, as will the 597hp 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that powers the RS6 and S8. Diesel power will come courtesy of the SQ7’s 4.0-litre and its planet-shifting 664lb ft of torque – likely to feature the brand’s latest electric turbo-boosting technology.
Audi A9 price and release date
Being the brand’s flagship vehicle, the A9 is likely to be very expensive. To compete with the Mercedes S-Class, it’ll probably cost from around £90,000 rising to £150,000 for top-spec models. All are likely to come very well equipped as standard with further degrees of luxury found on the options list.
We expect to see a production version sometime in 2017 with an on sale date later in on 2018, although Audi remains tight-lipped on any concrete details.
Audi A9 latest news (updated January 2016)
Back in 2014 Audi revealed the stunning Prologue Coupe Concept to the world. This large, ultra-luxurious coupe previews a production model expected that’s likely to be called the Audi A9. This model, as the name suggests, will sit above the A8 at the top of the brand’s road car lineup. Check it out in our gallery below…
It’ll be based on the A8’s MLB platform allowing Audi the option to produce it as a saloon, an estate or as a coupe with a shortened wheelbase. As the top-of-the-range model, it’ll get the brand’s very best components, so expect a full featured MMI infotainment system, virtual cockpit display, powerful turbocharged engines and some autonomous driving abilities.
2016 Audi A9 styling
As you can see from our exclusive renders, the production A9 Coupe isn’t expected to depart massively from the styling previewed by the Prologue Concept. We expect the wide hexagonal grille with chrome horizontal bars to make the production A9, along with the slim, purposeful headlights.
Its broad sides have deep feature lines breaking up the metalwork and pronounced haunches over the rear wheels hint at the power on offer. The roofline follows a long, graceful arch over the frameless windows and is framed by a chrome band. The rear kink of the windowline permits more rear headroom than some rivalling coupes.
For buyers wanting Audi’s most luxurious car without sacrificing four-door practicality, the A9 saloon makes a better choice. It has a longer wheelbase than the coupe permitting more interior room and an extra pair of doors. This follows a pattern of four-door coupes set out by the Audi A7, Mercedes CLS and BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe.
If, however, Audi really wants so shake up the luxury car market, it could introduce an A9 Avant estate – a body style not previously seen in this sector. Audi has been at the forefront of the estate’s image rehabilitation for many years, so seems the obvious brand to attempt it. While the A9 Avant will probably still mainly focus on passenger room, the boot will be big enough for weekend bags and larger than its S-Class and 7 Series rivals.
2016 Audi A9 interior
The A9’s interior promises to be one of the most opulent cabins to emerge from the Ingolstadt manufacturer. Expect tasteful use of metals, woods and leather over every surface and a dashboard dominated by one or more large infotainment screens. The driver will probably get Audi’s latest version of the virtual cockpit screen that replaces the dials.
A trend that’s likely to feature in the A9’s cabin is minimal use of buttons – with so many functions on offer, having a button for each one would make the interior confusing. Instead, most of the functions will be controlled via the central screen using the rotary selector, voice commands or even gesture controls as seen in BMW’s 7 Series.
2016 Audi A9 driving and engines
Sitting atop Audi’s range means the A9 will get only the best engines under the bonnet. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol used in the RS6 is a likely candidate with anywhere between 450 and 600hp. Alternatively, Audi could use the more muted and luxurious W12 reserved for top-of-the-range Bentleys and its own A8.
Diesel engines could also feature for the European market – the 385hp 4.2-litre twin-turbodiesel V8 is a sensible bet but the firm’s smaller 3.0-litre V6 could feature along with electric turbocharging to improve throttle response. Hybrid and electric options are also likely using technology developed by the upcoming Audi Q6 e-tron.
The A9 isn’t expected to be an enthusiast’s favourite so the car’s likely to be offered only with an automatic gearbox – most likely the eight-speed automatic used in the RS6 and various Bentleys. Naturally, it’ll feature the company’s famed quattro four-wheel-drive system to improve all-weather performance and high-speed grip.
2016 Audi A9 specs
The A9 will, as mentioned, sit above all Audi’s other road cars making it unlikely that the brand will offer many different trims. Most of the technology will be standard on even the basic model with only a handful of high-end options costing extra.
At this level, it’s most likely that customers will be offered bespoke options for the car’s upholstery and trim – with most of these coming in the “if you have to ask how much it is, you can’t afford it” category.
2016 Audi A9 price
The A9 in coupe form will be going up against the Mercedes S-Class Coupe when it goes on sale so an entry price of around £95,000 seems plausible. Top models could head well north of this figure with some ultra-high-end versions breaking into the £150,000 bracket.
2016 Audi A9 release date
We expect to see a production version of the A9 before the end of 2016 with a probable on-sale date in the spring of 2017. The September 2016 Paris Motor Show or November 2016 Los Angeles Motor Show.
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