These are the the best spy pics yet of Audi's baby Q3 SUV in testing, ahead of its launch at next month's Shanghai motor show.

The Tiguan-based Q3 is due on sale before the end of the year. It’s loosely based on the Cross Coupé concept that was shown at the Shanghai motor show as long ago as 2007.

See the latest spy pics of the Audi Q3

But although the heavy camouflage disguises the details, the profile does suggest that the show car’s steeply raked tailgate is being kept for production, making the Q3 more of a coupé crossover than a pure mini-SUV.

The new model will slot into Audi’s line-up beneath the Q5 and Q7. It’s around 4.4m long, 1.8m wide and 1.6m high — 20cm shorter and 7cm narrower than the Q5. The Q3 will be mechanically similar to the Volkswagen Tiguan, although Audi is likely to offer adaptive damping on its model.

Read more on the Audi Q3, including Autocar's exclusive rendering

It will feature three petrol engines — a 140bhp 1.4, a 180bhp 1.8 and a 210bhp 2.0 — plus two diesels, with 140bhp and 170bhp. A 204bhp twin-turbodiesel is also in the pipeline.

The Q3 will be built at Seat’s Martorell factory near Barcelona. Seat has confirmed it will take on 700 new staff for the Q3 project and its build secures 1500 jobs at the plant. It previewed its own version of the Q3, the IBX concept, at the recent Geneva show.

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