Audi Q1: the baby SUV codenamed AU276 lands in 2016

Published: 26 December 2014

The Audi Q1 is being prepared for launch in 2016 to challenge the likes of the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Range Rover Evoque. And although based on cut-n-shut Q3 hardware, it’s said to have a different enough design to dodge any matrioshka doll criticisms.

Developed under the internal codename AU276, the new Q1 is in essence a rebodied short-wheelbase Q3. Click here for our news story when the Q1 was first confirmed for launch in 2016.

Audi Q1: the new smallest SUV from Ingolstadt

Audi’s new baby SUV will share its footprint with the three-door A3. CAR can confirm the running gear, chassis, electronic platform and basic architecture all bear a close resemblance to Q3 and Tiguan.

In 2016, once production of the Q5 has been transferred from Ingolstadt to Mexico, the German parent plant will start building the Q1 at a rate of around 70,000 units a year on the same assembly line as the A3.

Why the proliferation of new models? Because chairman Rupert Stadler told CAR earlier this year he planned 60 different model lines by the end of the decade.

Prices and specs of the 2016 Audi Q1

We expect the new SUV to cost around €25,000 (£19,700), making it a little more expensive in Germany than the A3 Sportback while keeping a respectful distance to the Q3.

Although AU276 was virtually complete before Mark Lichte arrived in Ingolstadt, the new chief designer did add a few personal touches like a wider range of options which will likely include S, RS and Exclusive Line variants.

In an attempt to create a sportier stance and a more youthful appearance, Q1 fuses themes of crossover, Sportback and Avant. The picture accompanying this story is an official design sketch from Audi.

Special features include trademark contrasting sideblades covering the C-posts – an R8 treat democratised! – wider and larger-diameter wheels, a greater variety of body kits and grille themes, Allroad-type undertray protection elements as well as a prominent pointed concave section that runs above the door handles from front side panel to rear side panel.

Audi Q1 engines, powertrains

Since the Q1 is a member of the Volkswagen group’s MQB family, it could easily be offered with three-cylinder engines, a plug-in hybrid or the zero-emissions drivetrain of the e-Golf – but it won’t.

To keep costs at bay, the line-up is instead expected to comprise five different EU6-rated four-pots:

Audi Q1 1.4 TFSI 140bhp/184lb ft
Audi Q1 1.8 TFSI 180bhp/207lb ft
Audi Q1 2.0 TFSI 230bhp/273lb ft

And a brace of diesels:

Audi Q1 2.0 TDI 150bhp/236lb ft
Audi Q1 2.0 TDI 184bhp/280lb ft

What’s your opinion on the upcoming Audi SUV? Click ‘Add your comment’ and sound off below.

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel