Audi: 'Our priority is new SUVs'

* Audi to expand range * Focus is on SUVs rather than sports cars * Sportier Q3 alternative and large luxury model planned...

Audi: 'Our priority is new SUVs'

Audi's range is set to expand, but the priority is for more SUVs rather than another sports car, according to the company's research and development boss, Wolfgang Durheimer.

Speaking to What Car? at the Shanghai motor show, Durheimer said: 'SUV products are a first priority.'

He also revealed that Audi is planning both a super-luxury SUV to sit above the current Q7 and a Q2, which will provide a lower, sportier alternative to the current Q3.

Audi is also considering other options for families, including 'Shooting Brake' models, possibly based on the Audi A6 Avant and a direct competitor to the Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake.

Durheimer also admitted that 'there is room for an MPV'. Previously, senior Audi sources have revealed that the company is planning a luxury six- or seven-seater MPV, as long as it can maintain the design and sporty credentials of the rest of the range.

However, Audi's technical boss also conceded that these new models will come at the expense of a proposed R4 mid-engined sports car.

He said: 'There is space below the R8 and we have designed a car, but it's not a priority.

'If we do eventually do it, it will have to bring technology and be mid-engined to separate it from the TT.'

By Chas Hallett