The 2026 Audi Q9 recently surfaced on public roads, but the automaker’s already begun testing a hotter version.
A prototype for the full-size 2026 Audi SQ9 was spotted on with slight, but important, tweaks compared to the milder model.
Expected to be a full-size three-row crossover SUV set to rival the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, the SQ9 would give the Q9 lineup a more powerful model to take on the AMG-badged GLS and M-badged X7.
The heavily camouflaged body looks nearly identical to the previously spotted Q9 prototype. Despite initial prototypes SQ9s sharing their front end with the Q9 we can see two intercoolers, one on each side, behind the lower grille. These, along with extra plumbing, would be to cool presumably a twin-turbo V-8 currently found other Audi S and RS models such as the SQ8 crossover. In the SQ8 this engine produces 500 hp.
At the back. Audi’s trademark quad exhaust tips can be seen as with other S models. Production models will feature chrome finishers.
Like other S-badged Audi crossover SUVs, the SQ9 will likely ride on air suspension with adaptive dampers. Prototypes were equipped with S-specific wheel designs that looked a little larger than the Q9 prototype wheels.
There’s still no clear shot of the interior, but one image reveals there will be a large touchscreen on the dashboard augmented by what’s likely a digital gauge cluster. The steering wheel on the SQ9 doesn’t appear to be round, rather it either has a flat bottom or more squircle shape similar to what is found in the electric Q4 E-Tron.
It’s possible the Q9 lineup will be Audi’s last new gas-powered model introduction. The automaker’s already committed to with to selling EVs exclusively and hinted its last model with a gas engine could launch as soon as 2026.