Baby SUV will join Audi's line-up in 2011
6 January 2009

Audi will add the new Audi Q3 baby SUV to its line-up in 2011.

Based on the Volkswagen Tiguan platform, the Q3 will bolster Audi’s dedicated SUV line-up to three models, slotting in beneath the larger and more expensive Q5 and Q7 at a price expected to be around £22,000 in the UK.

Its styling draws heavily on the well received Cross Coupé concept seen at the Shanghai motor show in 2007. But while the concept had a steeply raked tailgate, the production version will get a more upright rear end.

The Q3 is around 4440mm in length, 1810mm in width and 1640mm in height — slightly larger than the concept but 190mm shorter, 70mm narrower and 15mm lower than the Q5.

Unlike the longitudinally engined Q5 and Q7, the Q3 is based around a transverse installation. The basic floorpan and suspension — MacPherson struts at the front and a four-link rear end — are shared with the Tiguan. But the Q3 will set itself apart by using an adaptive damping system, like the TT.

Three turbocharged petrol engines, all shared with the A3, are planned for the Q3: a 140bhp 1.4, a 180bhp 1.8 and a 210bhp 2.0. There will also be at least two 2.0-litre diesels, one producing 140bhp and the other 170bhp. A more powerful twin-turbo diesel with 204bhp is expected to join the line-up later.

The Q3 will be the first Audi to be built in Spain. Utilising excess production capacity at sister company Seat’s Martorell plant near Barcelona, Audi is investing £268 million to tool up for the new entry-level SUV.

Audi is planning on a production capacity of 80,000 cars a year, although this is expected to be shared between the Q3 and the forthcoming Seat Tribu SUV, which is set to use the same basic underpinnings.

Our Verdict

The Audi Q3 is a desirable and capable contender that fails to engage its driver, which ultimately, leaves it trailing the BMW X1 and the Range Rover Evoque

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