German maker Audi recently announced plans to invest $30 billion in a chase for luxury segment leadership, a move that will see it boost its current model count from 49 to 60 by 2020. The Volkswagen AG subsidiary isn’t waiting to get there, however, and plans to reveal not only an all-new compact crossover at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week, but to also give us a hint at another CUV in the works.
The newest addition to the line-up is the Audi Q3 which will take the maker’s current line of crossover-utes, the Q5 and Q7, a step down-market. It’s a logical addition considering the compact CUV segment is expected to be one of the hottest global market niches for much of the rest of the decade.
“We are now for the first time entering into the premium compact class of SUVs with the introduction of the Audi Q3 into our line-up,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “Our growing SUV family will now offer three distinct products in the premium SUV category; and like the successful Q5 and Q7, the Q3 will continue with the established standards they started with regards to utility, technology, craftsmanship and performance.”
Will that soon grow to four utes? That’s what the rendering shown here suggests. Along with the new 2015 Q3, Audi will unveil a concept vehicle that aims to blend the looks and features of a sports car, a European style “shooting brake” and a coupe-like crossover.
(For more on Audi’s plans for world domination, Click Here.)
A release from the maker describes the concept vehicle as “a car for all roads and tracks, for everyday driving and sporty recreational use.”
Measuring a mere 13.8 feet, it would appear to take the Audi allroad concept a step more in the sporty direction, maintaining some classic off-road details, such as aluminum front and rear skid plates that ensure it is more than just a highway cruiser. The comparison that quickly comes to mind is the Range Rover Evoque
The Audi crossover concept, notably, relies on a gas-electric hybrid powertrain, though it remains to be seen if that means a plug-in system similar to what we’ll see the maker soon launch under the hood of the next-generation Audi A3 line.
(Click Here to check out the Audi Coupe Quattro Laserlight Concept.)
There are no immediate plans – at least none the German maker is currently talking about – to offer a hybrid system for the new Q3. The crossover, which will reach showrooms by autumn of this year, will be powered by a 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four making 200 horsepower. That gas engine will be linked to a 6-speed Tiptronic transmission. Audi says the new Q3 will use a front-drive configutation, with Quattro all-wheel-drive an available option.
While it is expected to be the least expensive of the marque’s various utes, you won’t use the phrase, “stripped-down,” to describe it. Standard features will include xenon front lights, with LED daytime running lamps and taillamps, heated, 12-way power front seats, a Panoramic sunroof, and a smartkey system.
(U.S. buyers are hot for all-wheel-drive these days. Click Herefor more.)
To hold down mass, Audi has adopted aluminum for both the hood and tailgate. A power tailgate option will be offered. The cargo compartment, meanwhile, will have 16.2 cubic feet of space, expandable to 48.2 cf with both of the split/fold rear seats down.
Audi will outfit the new Q3 with a number of high-tech features, including its latest infotainment system that also boasts an in-car WiFi hotspot. That’s fast becoming a competitive battleground. Audi announced plans to build in high-speed Internet into most all of its models during this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – as did Chevrolet.
As for pricing, Audi isn’t yet saying, though the segment is an increasingly competitive one with any range of new offerings coming, such as the new Mercedes-Benz GLA and Lincoln MKC. That could force Audi to keep its entry-level model down in the low $30,000 range.