The smallest member of the Audi Q-series has been designed to be in tune with the times. As a new departure for an Audi SUV, the predominantly quattro-equipped range will also include a front-wheel drive model that will prioritize efficiency. This 2.0-liter TDI, 140hp version for Europe will get a manual transmission and weigh in at under 3300 lb. It will be capable of achieving in excess of 45mpg US but there’s no word on whether this version will come to the States.
Numerous additional measures contribute to this exemplary efficiency, and apply across the range. The streamlined bodym with its lightweight aluminum and high-tech steel content, slips through the air thanks to a low drag coefficient of 0.32, and low rolling resistance tires, engine start-stop, energy recuperation and electro-mechanical power steering systems as standard across the board for European cars.
The optional Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system also features a fuel-saving efficiency mode, and when this option is specified the further developed S tronic twin-clutch transmission can now disengage drive each time the throttle pedal is released to reduce draw on the engine.
Three engines will initially be available, all combining direct fuel injection with turbocharging - the 2.0-liter TFSI gasoline unit in 170hp and 211hp forms plus the 2.0-liter TDI with 177hp.
The top ranking 2.0-liter TFSI unit powers the Q3 from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds and on to a 143mph top speed. Soon after launch, the 140hp 2.0-liter TDI will be offered in the entry level front-drive Q3.
The 2.0 TDI 140hp and 2.0 TFSI 170hp engines will be linked to six-speed manual transmission as standard, while the 2.0 TDI 177hp and 2.0 TFSI 211hp units will feature the acclaimed seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission.
All versions will have 170mm ride height and robust multi-link suspension. This is bolstered by the sophisticated Electronic Stability Program with electronic differential lock, which effectively regulates torque distribution by braking individual wheels when they start to slip. The predominant configuration will be quattro all-wheel-drive, which redistributes power via a hydraulic multi-plate clutch from front to rear axles as needed.
The Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system will be available as an option to enable drivers to tailor the Q3’s driving characteristics even more precisely. The system incorporates comfort, auto, dynamic and efficiency modes, which influence the responses of the throttle and steering, and also the optional adaptive light and cruise control systems where these are fitted.
When the efficiency mode is selected, the electronic climate control and cruise control systems operate at the optimum level for minimal fuel consumption, and in models with S tronic transmission, the active clutch is disengaged each time the driver lifts off the throttle, allowing the Q3 to use the momentum already built up to ‘coast’ without the need for engine input.
Numerous high-end options attest to the technological standards of the Q3. They include adaptive light technology for the xenon plus headlights, a high-beam assistant to illuminate the road ahead, the hard drive-based navigation system plus with seven-inch color screen and 3D mapping and the side assist blind spot warning and lane assist lane departure warning driver aids.
At a later date, it will become possible to link the MMI navigation plus system with the online Bluetooth car phone, which integrates a UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Standard) module. This will enable the navigation system to make use of Google Earth images, and will enable the Q3 to double as a WLAN hotspot in which passengers can enjoy unrestricted internet connectivity on the road.