Ingolstadt-based Audi has used the Paris Motor Show to announce its future SUV plans and display a string of new model ranges – one of which, the A6, will be launched in SA next week.

Ingolstadt-based Audi has used the Paris Motor Show to announce its future SUV plans and display a string of new model ranges – one of which, the A6, will be launched in SA next week.

Following the trend for all things SUV, an Audi AG executive on Thursday announced that the company's first such model, the Q7, would be launched early in 2006.

The five-door, seven-seater model will share its platform with the VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne SUVs, and will be fitted with Audi's 4,2-litre V8 powerplant. The production version will be modelled on the Pikes Peak quattro concept unveiled by Audi at last year's Detroit show.

"The letter Q denotes a new family type within our company, alongside A, S and RS," said Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the Audi AG board of management. The seven indicates its position between the A6 and A8, Winterkorn continued.

The introduction of the SUV could lead to the death of the A6-based Allroad, which was an attempt to provide Audi drivers with a SUV-like product to choose from.

Audi A3 Sportback

Also on display is the A3 Sportback, a five-door version of the ever-popular subcompact model. On sale in Europe soon, it will be available there in a choice of four- or six-cylinder engines developing up to 184 kW. It will also come with front-wheel or quattro four-wheel drive and the optional direct shift gearbox (DSG) transmission.

The 1,9 and 2,0 TDI, and the 2,0 FSI, 2,0T FSI and a 3,2-litre V6 are among the engine options offered. Five- or six-speed manual transmissions are fitted, depending on the engine chosen.

Following several of the A3's styling tips, the Sportback also offers more space thanks to a rear end that is 68 mm longer than the three-door version.

However, it is the third Audi, after the 12-cylinder A8 and new A6 to display the new prominent single-frame grille that marks the new family face. Unfortunately, the model is not expected to cruise around South African streets, though these plans may change.

Audi A4

Another car being showcased at Audi's stand in Paris is the dramatically-facelifted A4 compact saloon, which will come with a choice of 10 petrol and diesel engines, including four new powerplants, and arrive in South Africa the first quarter of next year.

Two new petrol engines with FSI will be used for the first time in the A4: the 188 kW 3,2 FSI V6 and a turbocharged 2,0-litre four-cylinder FSI (the 2,0T) which produces 147 kW.

The turbodiesel offerings will include a 2,0-litre four-cylinder engine with pump-injector fuel injection and a power output of 103 kW and the new six-cylinder common-rail 3,0 TDI. Audi's top-of-the-range diesel V6, débuted recently in the A6 and A8 saloons, will feature in the A4 as well. This V6 produces 150 kW and 450 N.m of torque between 1 400 and 3 200 r/min.

Audi A6

Locally, the bigger saloon A6 is due for its official launch in the first week of October and should join the rest of the Audi family at the Auto Africa expo next month. No updated A4 will be on display though.

"The marketing introduction of the A6 has already started, but the car will officially be launched from the first of October," Audi SA's spokesman, Rudi Venter said.

Expect three models at launch: the entry-level 2,4-litre V6, a 3,0-litre TDI and the flagship 4,2-litre V8 quattro. A 3,2-litre V6 will soon be added to the pack, using the same FSI unit doing duty in the TT.

The 2,4-litre V6 unit produces power of 130 kW and 230 N.m of torque. The 3,0-litre TDI V6 has a power output of 165 kW and 450 N.m whereas the flagship version produces 246 kW and 420 N.m.

The petrol V6s will be available with multitronic and manual transmissions and the turbodiesel with manual and tiptronic transmissions. The V8 will be equipped with tiptronic.