The new Audi Q3 will be released this fall as a 2015 model. A tad late to the compact, luxury-crossover party, mostly dominated by the BMW X1 , it should be worth the wait and give the Bimmer some legitimate competition. Based on the capable Volkswagen Tiguan , it shares the basic body but has its own unique Audi-esque styling cues, which include the familiar Audi grille , an attractive, coupe-like roofline, and a sharp character line that runs the length of the vehicle.
Other differences from the Tiguan include a lightweight aluminum hood, liftgate and suspension components. Power will come from the corporate 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four, netting 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, connected to a six-speed automatic. This configuration has proven more than adequate in every Volkswagen and Audi application, and should have no trouble here, either. Quattro all-wheel drive will be an option. Expect typical Audi luxury, with a sumptuous interior, and top-notch fit and finish.
While we are certainly eager to get our hands on the new Q3, perhaps what are even more exciting are the reports of the second-generation model, due out for the 2017 model year. The biggest news is that we have received confirmation that the next-generation Q3 will be inspired by the legendary Audi Quattro , released in 1980.
Note: Current generation Audi Q3 pictured here.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2017 Audi Q3.
2017 Audi Q3 in Detail
The original Audi Quattro was a legend. It burst onto the scene in 1980 featuring a 2.1-liter, turbocharged, five-cylinder engine sporting 197 horsepower, with the first application of quattro the mid ’80s Audi offered it on nearly every model, and thus the trend continues today. Front-drive Audi’s do exist, but I’ve never seen one.
As of July 2014, details are scarce, but expect heavily influenced wheel-arches, and subtle hind-quarter details hinting at the original Quattro design.
According to the French magazine L’Automobile, the next-generation Q3 will be heavily inspired by this classic car. The new Audi head of design, Marc Lichte, is reportedly a huge fan of the original Quattro, and has plans to integrate several design elements of the original into the 2017 Q3. As of July 2014, details are scarce, but expect heavily influenced wheel-arches, and subtle hind-quarter details hinting at the original Quattro design. Also, the new model will be lower and wider, which will drop the center of gravity and undoubtedly enhance the driving dynamics. Engine offerings have yet to be disclosed, but look for both a gasoline and diesel variant.
The original 1980 Quattro had a classic, squared-off, blocky shape. Old, for sure, but it has certainly aged well. I could imagine Audi integrating this retro look with the best new themes of today to make the Q3 quite the looker. Audi’s already are quite attractive, so expect nothing less with the redesign.
It may not be quite as handsome as the upcoming A3, but in terms of driving dynamics, Audi faces some stiff competition from the more-powerful BMW X1. The X1 has been commended for its excellent driving dynamics and "old-school" BMW feel; the feel that many enthusiasts (and professionals) find lacking in most new BMW models.
The X1 has yet to receive electric steering, which has diminished virtually every other BMW’s legendary feel from behind the wheel, most notably the 3 and 5 Series. Performance is stout, with a 0-to-60 time of 6 seconds flat. Also, fuel economy is relatively decent with a combined EPA rating of 24 mpg. Rear-drive versions of the X1 xDrive28i start at a low $31,725, but can quickly sail past $45,000 with all-wheel drive and option packages. The X1 can also be equipped with the venerable twin-turbo, N55 inline-six, good for a stout 300 horsepower in its X1 xDrive35i garb.
Gallery BMW X1 xDrive28i
Mercedes is hot on Audi’s trail, too, with the new GLA-class due this fall as a 2015 model. Based on MB’s versatile, new front-wheel-drive platform and dubbed the GLA250, this looker of a compact will feature the brand’s new four-cylinder, turbocharged, 2.0-liter motor, good for 208 horsepower and a stout 258 pound-feet of torque. With that comes the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which has received less than stellar reviews in its application in the CLA-class . We’ll reserve judgement until we drive it.
Mercedes claims a 0-to-60 sprint of just 6.4 seconds, with a top speed of 145 mph. 4MATIC all-wheel drive is an option. Mercedes claims around 30 mpg. Expect a classy, modern interior, mirroring the fresh designs from the GLA’s sister models. Also, look out for a hot-rod GLA45 AMG , complete with the absolutely insane, 355-horsepower, 2.0-liter, turbocharged motor within a year. Pricing hasn’t been officially announced, but expect it to be competitive.