The Q3 is Audi’s third SUV model after the larger Q5 and Q7 and will compete against the BMW X1. Those familiar with the VW Group’s strategy won’t be surprised to find out that the Q3 is based on the platform architecture of the Volkswagen Tiguan. Audi’s interpretation of a compact SUV model measures 4.39 meters in length (14.4 ft), 1.83 meters in width (6.0 ft), and 1.60 meters (5.25 ft) in height with the roof rails, meaning its 240mm shorter, 50mm narrower and 53mm lower than the Q5.
The exterior styling is pure Audi with the design loosely inspired by the Ingolstadt firm’s Cross Coupe Quattro Concept from the 2007 Shanghai Auto Show. Compared to the Q5, Audi’s smaller SUV model introduces a sharper front design with wedge-shaped headlamps and a roofline that slopes gently towards the back for a more dynamic profile.
Inside, the Q3 features your typical high-quality Audi interior with a clean lines and seating for five. The luggage compartment offers a basic capacity of 460-liters (16.24 cu ft), but it can swell to a volume of 1,365 liters (48.2 cu ft) with the split rear seat backrests folded down. There are numerous standard and optional features including an on-board computer with efficiency program, an ambient lighting package with a bevy of LEDs, a panoramic glass roof, a storage package, sports seats and a three-spoke leather steering wheel in a new Q-specific look.
Built on the architecture of the VW Tiguan, the Q3 will be offered at launch with a pair of gasoline engines and a single TDI unit, with a second diesel to appear later on. All four of the four-cylinder engines will have a displacement of 2.0 liters.
The 2.0 TFSI will be offered in two states of tune, with 170HP and 211HP. The most powerful version propels the Q3 from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.9 seconds and on up to a top speed of 230 km/h (143 mph).
The 2.0 TDI will be available with 177HP and later on, with 140HP. Paired with front-wheel drive, the 140HP version will allow the Q3 to return a combined fuel economy of less than 5.2 lt per 100 kilometers (equal to 45.2 US mpg).
Both TFSI gasoline engines and the stronger of the TDI diesel units will be supplied with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The 140HP TDI and the 170HP TFSI, will be offered with a standard six-speed manual gearbox, while the 177HP TDI and the 211HP TFSI, with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Audi says it tried to keep the Q3’s weight down by using a combination of materials. As an example, the company said the engine hood and wraparound tailgate, which houses the taillights, are made of aluminum, while the passenger compartment features a variety of ultra-high-strength steels.
In Europe, the new Q3, which will be manufactured at Seat’s Martorell plant near Barcelona, Spain, will go on sale in June with a base price in Germany of €29,900 (equal to US$43,300 at today’s exchange rates). Audi has not yet confirmed U.S. availability.