The information was reported on Thursday by Autocar following an interview with Marc Lichte, Audi's design chief.
Lichte reportedly said there's space for such a vehicle since there are plans for only two real alternatives in the premium segment—the models mentioned above. He also reportedly said Audi needs such a vehicle given its successful history in off-road racing, which continues even in the electric era with the RS Q E-Tron off-roaders entered in the Dakar Rally in recent years. The RS Q E-Tron program serves as a testbed for development of electric all-wheel-drive systems, referred to by Audi as Quattro 2.0.
Interestingly, Audi on Thursday revealed the Activesphere concept, a coupe-like crossover with a tall ride height and a rear bed complete with a dropping tailgate.
Audi Activesphere concept
Autocar posits that any rugged Audi SUV would ride on an electric body-on-frame platform being developed by fellow VW Group brand Volkswagen for its upcoming Scout SUV and pickup truck. The Scouts are due in 2026 and will be built in the U.S., and it's likely any Audi SUV sharing a platform with the Scouts would also share a plant.
There's speculation VW is looking to outsource production of the Scouts to a contract manufacturer like Foxconn or Magna. Magna's Magna Steyr subsidiary in Austria is the company that builds the G-Class for Mercedes and also helped developed the vehicle.
A senior Magna executive in September said the company is searching for a location to build an EV plant in the U.S.
According to Autocar, the new Audi could be launched around 2027 if its development is given the green light. Stay tuned.