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Audi Confirms Autonomous A8, Q8 SUV, Electric Crossover

Eric WeinerwriterAndreas Hartlillustrator

Audi laid out its roadmap for the future in its annual press conference, setting a goal of two million global deliveries by 2020. Its strategy for this expansion focuses on improved efficiency, advanced technology, and a broader vehicle portfolio.

Confirming much of what we'd previously reported, the eminent Professor Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg put some of these goals into more concrete focus. Hackenberg spoke with AUTOMOBILE earlier at the Los Angeles auto show, where he first expressed his goals for button-free interiors, electric turbocharging in diesel engines, and the introduction of piloted driving. He confirmed at the press conference that going forward, TDI engines will come standard with electronic turbocharging for improved efficiency.

Piloted driving is just on the horizon as well. Launching in 2017, the upcoming Audi A8 will be capable of fully autonomous driving in the form of a traffic-jam pilot. The new A8 will also have a piloted parking feature. Audi has made a huge push in recent years in piloted driving research, including with the autonomous RS 7 which carved up the Hockenheimring track without a driver on board.

Audi also confirmed our earlier report about the upcoming entry-level crossover, the Q1. Slated for the end of 2016, the Q1 and A4 will be the final vehicles to debut that predate the arrival of new design chief Marc Lichte. On the larger end of the spectrum, Audi will bill the all-new Q8 SUV as a sleeker and sportier alternative to the Q7. A rumored e-tron version of the Q8, riding on the second-gen modular longitudinal architecture (MLB), could share its powertrain underpinnings with the new R8 e-tron.

Audi makes mention of a future all-electric sports activity vehicle in the large premium segment (shown above in our rendering), which European bureau chief Georg Kacher previously reported is meant to target Tesla. The rumored Q6 e-tron would be based on the new Q5. Audi says the MLB 2-based SUV will have a unique design penned specifically for electric vehicles, and it will boast a range of about 310 miles. More to come on this from Audi by the end of 2015.

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