Audi Cross Coupe Quattro: the lowdown
This is the first official picture of what will become in 2010 Audi's new Freelander rival, efectively the Q3. It's a baby brother to the Q7 mud-plugger and forthcoming Q5 - but this one is more compact, seats only five and has gone on a crash-diet. End result? The Cross Coupe Quattro - unveiled today in Shanghai, it's a concept car for a much slicker crossover. It'll be based on VW's new Tiguan, sharing its four-wheel drive and transversely mounted 204bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine.
What will the Q3 be like to drive and will it be any good off-road?
The Cross Coupe rides on MacPherson struts at the front and a four-link rear axle, which should make for a decent ride and solid cornering on the road. Some extra ground clearance required for light off-roading is helped by the concept car's bling 20-inch alloys. Nestling behind the rims are ceramic brake discs, to ensure that the Cross Coupe can anchor itself to the tarmac quickly and fade-free. The Haldex 4wd system distributes power evenly between all four wheels for decent traction; just don't go expecting to cross deserts. The Cross Coupe also comes with Audi's S-tronic transmission, for quick, paddle-shift gearchanges.
Any more toys?
Of course. Being aimed at the fickle and fashionable SUV market means that the Cross Coupe is bristling with trendy electronic pampering. There are three different driving style settings available to the driver of the Cross Coupe: Dynamic, Sport and Efficiency. Dynamic is normal to you and me, while Sport sets the suspension up for a bit of intense B-road blasting. Efficiency however, alters the engine map for economical driving and even adapts power-sapping items such as the air-conditioning compressor.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. The Cross Coupe is laden with quirky and useful little bits of technology. Audi's MMI control panel allows a split screen view of the computer read-out, showing different images depending on where you're sitting in the car. So dad can keep an eye on fuel levels and the like, while the kids can watch TV. There's also a folding fabric roof, which is an unusual feature for an SUV, but nonetheless an attractive concept.
Sounds like a great place for a long family journey. Not sure about the styling, though.
It's an unusual looking thing, that's for sure. But there's no denying that Audi has been brave with the styling on this one and is obviously attempting to lure buyers away from the more subtle lines of the X3 and Freelander. Despite the steeply raked rear windscreen, the Cross Coupe looks like a mini Q7 from the back, sharing its long horizontal tail lights. At the front, it's pretty aggressive-looking. The hunched stance and frowning lamps are intimidating enough to frighten away most small animals, before they're sucked into that monstrous grille.
What about practicality? Presumably it will have to cope with kids and bags?
The Cross Coupe is only a four-seater, so it won't be suitable for particularly large families. However, those with one or two kids looking for something to swallow a few suitcases probably won't be disappointed. There's a handy 450 litres of luggage space if you're prepared to stack your bags up to the edge of the window, which isn't bad going for a small SUV. There's no word on prices yet, but expect the Q3 to cost from around £20k. It's interesting that Audi chose to unveil the Cross Coupe Quattro in China; the Germans are hoping to build their brand in this, one of the fastest emerging markets in the world.