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Volkswagen group goes crossover crazy (2008)

By Georg Kacher

Spy shots

25 January 2008 09:49

Volkswagen is about to launch a slew of small crossovers – led by the Audi Q1, Skoda Yeti and VW Polo SUV. The joint Cayenne/Touareg/Q7 project has been seen as a success, so the Germans are repeating the plan with a family of smaller 4x4s. Skoda’s baby mud-plugger will arrive first in 2009, followed by the Audi Q1 a year later and the Polo SUV in 2011 - but all our eyes are on the baby Audi.

Ingolstadt reckons that up to half of the 200,000 A1s it plans to build a year could be the tall-roof, four-wheel drive baby off-roaders. Whereas the Yeti and Polo will be sold as five-doors, Ingolstadt’s junior mud-plugger could be sold in sporty, three-door-only trim.

Audi is talking about prices from £16,000 to £20,000, on the Continent at least – pitching it squarely against the upcoming Mini Crossman (which has been delayed so many times that pessimists believe it may never materialise), the Land Rover LRX and a potential Volvo XC30.

Audi is planning a narrower range of engines for the Q1, with only two displacements: a 1.4 petrol four (in power outputs spanning from 122 to 170bhp), and a 1.6-litre common-rail diesel (from 80 to 130bhp). All engines will be offered with six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG twin-clutch gearboxes. As previewed on the A1 concept car in Tokyo, the Q1 will eventually be offered as a mild hybrid.

Audi Q1: the looks

Visually, the Q1 is tipped to follow the theme set by Q5 and Q3. The trick is to ensure sufficient differentiation between the three model lines and to establish a strong visual link to the base models, in this case the A1. So the number of doors, the position, width and angle of the C-posts, the relation between grille and headlamps, the plan view and the proportion of the overhangs will all echo the A1 premium supermini.

Expect a coupe-type roof, a tall windowline and a minimalistic greenhouse. There may be a five-door version, and design chief Wolfgang Egger’s team are pondering a shooting brake theme (check out the A2 Open Air and Steppenwolf concepts).

Click ‘Next’ to read about the Audi Q1’s electric future