The growing interest in smaller SUVs and crossovers combined with the fact that German luxury rival BMW is already offering the X1 and Mercedes-Benz will soon launch the GLA in the States, has convinced Audi to move ahead and bring its Q3 to this side of the Atlantic.
Audi said it will host the U.S. premiere of the Q3 compact SUV at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit next week before it goes on sale as a 2015 model this fall at an, as of yet, undisclosed price, but surely less than the bigger Q5 that starts at $37,300.
The Q3 will launch with a single engine option, a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline four with 200-horsepower paired to a standard six-speed Tiptronic transmission driving the front-wheels or optionally, all four wheels through Audi's 'quattro' system.
“Coming off the recent A3 family announcement 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.”
[From Audi's press release]
The Audi Q3 comes generously appointed with a long list of standard equipment, including:
• 200 hp 2.0-liter TFSI® engine with six-speed Tiptronic® transmission
• Panoramic sunroof with power retractable sunshade
• Audi xenon plus front lighting with LED DRLs and taillights
• Heated, 12-way power front seats
• Leather seating surfaces
• Audi advanced key
Design and Body
The Audi Q3 model’s coupe-like lines are an expression of its sporty character. This is demonstrated by:
• Low roof line, flat D-pillars, and a wraparound tailgate
• Distinctive exterior lighting
• Sharply drawn lines on the flanks frame athletically arched sheet metal surfaces - the defining shadow contour is the Tornado line
• The housings of the side mirrors sport LED turn signals
• Both the hood and tailgate are made of aluminum
• The signature, wedge-shaped headlights house xenon plus lighting and LED daytime running lights, which are combined with LED taillights, all standard
• The available power tailgate opens electrically, including via the remote key fob, and swings up to accommodate the spacious cargo area
The interior of the Audi Q3 is spacious and comfortable for all five passengers. Its elegant, ergonomic design boasts superior build quality. Evidence of the premium character of the Audi Q3 can be seen in every last detail in the interior craftsmanship, in the selection of the materials, in their processing and in the tight, consistent interior gaps.
• The cargo area offers a base luggage capacity of 16.2 cu ft. Folding down the split rear seatbacks increases this capacity to 48.2 cu ft.
• Standard LED interior lighting – a technology that bathes the interior in dramatic light
• Efficient white light-emitting diodes illuminate the doors, foot wells, vanity mirrors, storage compartments and the air vent thumb wheels. LED light guides even accentuate the cup holders
• When equipped with the BOSE Surround Sound system, the frames of the woofer/mid-range speakers in the front doors form elegant rings of white light
• The Q3 comes standard with two front airbags, thorax-pelvis side airbags in the backs of the front seats and side curtain head airbags. Safety belt tensioners up front, belt force limiters and the integral Audi head restraint system. Rear side airbags are optional.
Powertrain and Performance
The standard 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engine in the Q3 produces 200hp and 207 lb-ft. of torque.
• Standard six-speed Tiptronic® transmission
• Front wheel drive standard, Audi quattro® permanent all-wheel drive available
• Optional Audi drive select system - allows drivers to adjust handling and response at the touch of a button. There are three drive select modes: Comfort, Dynamic, and Auto.
Chassis and Suspension
The Q3 brings more sportiness to the compact premium SUV class. Its balanced chassis combines agile handling, supreme safety and great road comfort.
• The Q3 model’s front suspension is a sophisticated design featuring McPherson struts with forged aluminum lower wishbones. The rear includes a four-link rear axle with a separate spring/shock absorber arrangement to maximize interior cargo space.
• Electromechanical power steering with speed-dependent power assist
• ESC with offroad mode and hill descent assist
• Standard 18-inch wheel with optional 19-inch design available
The Q3 showcases many aspects of Audi expertise found in our full-size luxury vehicles and makes that content and technological prowess available in a premium compact SUV.
• Sport package including front sport seats with adjustable thigh support
• Driver Assistance package including Audi side assist and Audi parking system with rearview camera
• Audi MMI navigation plus with 7.0-inch color monitor
• Power tailgate with a programmable preset opening angle
• The Prestige trim package includes extended infotainment and convenience features including Audi connect®
• Audi side assist uses radar to help make changing lanes easier
• BOSE Surround Sound system. This system features a ten-channel receiver delivering 465 watts of power to 14 speakers
The 2015 Audi Q3 features the award-winning infotainment system, Audi connect®, when the Prestige trim package is ordered.
• Factory-fitted, in-vehicle Wi-Fi connectivity for passenger use, enabling the Audi connect system to deliver connectivity to up to eight wireless devices for passengers.
• The on-board Audi MMI navigation plus system is enhanced with Google Earth™ maps for a true aerial view of the route.
• Audi connect also features real-time localized weather, news and live fuel prices
• Google Voice™ Local Search for detailed information about travel destinations, such as restaurant or hotel hours, pricing and customer reviews
• myAudi Destination feature, which allows users to log on to Google Earth from virtually any location in the U.S. and download up to 50 destinations to the vehicle
• Audi also offers real-time Sirius XM® Traffic information via enhancements to the Audi MMI Navigation plus system (active Sirius XM® Traffic subscription required).