This is Audi’s new Q3, a baby SUV that’s set to challenge the BMW X1, Range Rover Evoque and forthcoming Mini Paceman, as well pinching potential Ford Kuga customers. It’s Audi’s smallest Q series 4x4 yet, sitting below the Q5 and Q7. The new Audi Q3 will be officially unveiled at the 2011 Shanghai show next week.
This new Audi Q3 looks very familiar…
Are you being polite or taking the piss? Bar the odd detail tweak and redesigned bumper it looks almost identical to the Cross Coupe Quattro concept that appeared at the Shanghai show in 2007. That car was smart, but something seems to have been lost in the translation to production. And there’ll be a ready chorus of people to claim it looks like every other Audi out there…
The big, single-frame grille is present, LED daytime running lights are an option, and the slanted D-pillars mean it leans towards the lifestyle rather than luggage-carrying side of the market. The Q3 is 4.39m long, 1.83m wide and 1.60m tall, making it shorter, wider and taller than a BMW X1. Customers can pick from Allroad-style cladding (in black, body colour or grey), an off-road styling kit, and the sporty S-line pack (the grey car in our pictures). UK cars will run on 17in wheels as standard, with 18s and 19s costing extra.
And the Audi Q3's interior?
Inside the A1 is a mix of A1 and next-gen A3, with a pop-up sat-nav screen and typically top-notch materials. Posh options include Audi Drive Select (letting you adjust the throttle and steering), adaptive xenon lights, a hard-drive sat-nav system, hill-hold assist, a 14-speaker Bose sound system, a panoramic glass roof, and various blind spot and lane keeping assistance systems. In the pipeline is a Bluetooth car phone that can pair with WLAN hotspots to provide full internet connectivity.
What about the engines?
You can have any engine you like, so long as it’s a turbocharged and direct injection 2.0-litre with four cylinders and mated to a stop/start system. The TFSI petrol unit is available in two states of tune – 168bhp and 208bhp – while the TDI will initially only come in 174bhp guise. The diesel and top-level petrol come with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system as standard, and a seven-speed S-tronic transmission.
The S-tronic ‘box features a fuel saving innovation: during coasting the clutch disengages to allow the Q3 to roll freely. Provided you’ve selected the Efficiency mode in Audi Drive Select system, of course. Which is, of course, an option. An entry-level 138bhp front-drive Q3 will follow later, capable of 54.3mpg; both it and the 168bhp petrol use a six-speed manual gearbox
What else do we know about the new Audi Q3?
The Q3 has an aluminium bonnet and boot to cut weight, meaning the boggo front-drive model weighs 1500kg. That’s 45kg less than the equivalent rear-drive BMW X1, but still 140kg more than a 2.0 TDI A3 Sportback. The boot offers 460 litres of space with the seats up, and 1365 litres with them folded down – the X1 has 420 or 1350 litres of cargo capacity.
Production starts at Seat’s Martorell plant in Spain in June 2011, with UK deliveries commencing in November. Expect to pay £25k for the cheapest Q3.
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