New Audi Rugged EV SUV to rival Defender in 2027

    Audi’s upcoming 4X4 will likely take its design inspiration from the recently revealed Activesphere.

    Published On Feb 06, 2023 09:00:00 AM

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    Audi is on the verge of greenlighting a go anywhere electric 4X4 as a rival to the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Audi’s shock move comes as it evaluates a range of bold new products to sit on its new EV architecture.

    The firm’s outlandish new Activesphere concept – a segment-straddling off-road super-saloon – gives strong clues to the firm's priorities in this segment with its overt focus on outdoor pursuits and rugged design cues. And indeed, it is set to make production as a rugged, Allroad-esque luxury saloon.

    1. Audi rugged 4x4 will likely use Scout underpinnings 
    2. Design likely to be inspired by Activesphere concept 

    New Audi 4X4 EV SUV likely to use architecture from Scout 

    However, this secret SUV is a separate project, set to go into production sometime in 2027 as part of a strategic push into new segments, facilitated by the formation of new partnerships and platforms.

    Speaking with our sister publication Autocar UK, Audi designer Marc Lichte – who hinted at the prospect for a new 4X4 – refused to be drawn on the specifics of the model’s make-up, but said it will ride on a new platform taken from elsewhere in the VW Group portfolio. 

    The upcoming SSP platform – destined for use across all VW Group brands as a replacement for the current MEB – has been delayed until at least 2028. It is highly likely that Audi will look to nascent sibling brand Scout to provide a more conventional 4x4 SUV architecture for its debut model in this sphere.

    The rights to the dormant Scout marque were acquired by the VW Group in 2021, and plans are underway to use the name for a pair of Rivian-rivalling electric off-roaders conceived in the spirit of the bare bones original International Harvester SUV – both use a traditional ladder-frame chassis.

    Ladder-frame chassis will provide great off-roading prowess

    Scout’s ladder-frame chassis will provide for steep departure angles and ground clearance required to negotiate the tough terrain. The new generation of Audi’s Quattro four-wheel-drive technology will boost traction on loose surfaces and steep topography, and at the same time, will also enhance the SUV’s on-road performance.

    New Audi 4X4 EV design likely to be inspired by Activesphere

    The new Activesphere concept gives a strong hint of how Audi would approach the styling of the dedicated off-roader, and any similarly conceived production car will have elements like purposeful protective cladding, short overhangs, suspension travel and a much higher ride height than the firms’ more road focussed EVs.

    Also see: 

    2022 Audi Q3 India review: Back with a bang

    Audi Q4 e-tron review: Charging up

    Audi Cars

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