Audi Confirms Electric Rival To Tesla?s Model X SUV Photo:
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2015 Audi Q7 e-Tron - Overseas Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Mar, 11 2015 | 0 Comments

Tesla’s upcoming Model X electric SUV won’t have the spotlight to itself for long, with news today that Audi will soon launch its own electrified crossover.

Announced by Audi’s engineering chief Dr Ulrich Hackenberg during the carmaker’s annual press conference this week, the as-yet unnamed model will enter production in early 2018.

That likely means we can expect a concept to appear in the coming year, and Audi has handed down a first teaser image this morning - pointing to a potential debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

"In early 2018, we will launch a battery-powered sports activity vehicle in the large premium segment with a range of more than 500 kilometers," Hackenberg said.

Hackenberg’s comments follow the release of a short statement with the electric R8 e-tron sports car earlier this month, which confirmed that a new EV SUV is indeed in the works.

Hackenberg promised a “new, very attractive design”, although today’s teaser image reveals that Audi won’t stray too far from the styling of its latest production models.

However, we might expect elements of the recent Prologue coupe and wagon concepts to appear on the new concept, along with the new grille framing worn by the latest Q7 and recently updated Q3.

Last year's Audi TT Allroad concept (above) could also provide a preview of what's to coming with the new electric SUV.

"This sports activity vehicle will be built on the second generation of the modular longitudinal platform (MLB 2) - our concept for optimal drivetrain diversity implementation," Hackenberg added.

As for a name, today’s teaser hints at a tapered coupe-like roofline, suggesting the new model could enter as the long-expected ‘Q6’, a rival to BMW’s new X4.

We can likely also expect the now familiar ‘e-tron’ name to be tacked on the end, setting the new EV apart from its regular petrol and electric stablemates.

Audi's pure EV SUV will complement the just-revealed Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid (pictured) in Audi's showroom. For Hackenberg, the Q7 e-tron's diesel-electric powertrain is a more sensible configuration for a full-sized SUV.

With a combined system output of 275kW and 700Nm, the Q7 e-tron can hit 100km/h in six seconds flat yet drinks just 1.7 l/100km on the combined cycle.

Fully charged, the Q7 e-tron can also be driven electrically for 56km.

MORE: Audi SUVs | Electric Vehicles | E-Tron Models

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