Walter de’ Silva, head of design at Volkswagen Group, has confirmed that plans for a BMW X6-fighting crossover from Audi have been approved. While no date has been set for production or release, the news confirms rumors of a premium midsize SUV / crossover that media outlets have been referring to as the Audi Q6.
During a conversation with Automotive News (subscription required), de’ Silva stated, “We will definitely launch a sportier crossover in between the Q7 and Q5.” An Audi Q6 would have the BMW X6 directly in its sights, and would hope to pirate sales away from its oddly-styled German rival.
In Europe, the BMW X6 was launched as a premium SUV in 2008. Based on the BMW X5 SUV, but styled with an aggressively swooping roofline, the X6 climbed to fifth in European premium SUV sales in 2011, beating the Audi Q7 in units sold.
The X6 hasn't fared quite as well in North America, since its sporty styling dramatically impacts its utility. Through November, BMW has managed to sell just 5,431 X6 models in North America, making it the brand's third-least-popular model on these shores.
Audi may also add a small SUV to its lineup, which would fit between the Q5 and Q3. Such a model would combat the upcoming BMW X4, a small SUV set to launch in 2014.