04-18-2012, 09:25 AM
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Audi to make Q2, too, but no Q4
Three SUVs and another in the pipeline isnít enough for a gap-plugging Audi, with sources insisting it is already running prototypes of a fifth soft roader.
With a larger Q6 all-but confirmed by Audi insiders to sit at the top of Audiís SUV collection of the Q3, Q5 and the ageing Q7, other sources insist there will be a Q2 concept car within the next 12 months as well.
After years spent trailing in the wake of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, VW and even Porsche in the SUV world, Audi is determined to leave no stone unturned to keep potential buyers out of its rivalsí clutches.
The Q2 baby SUV is planned to be the complete opposite of the Q6, but still boasting a slightly sportier style than the five-door Q3, and a concept version will arrive at a European Motor Show within the next 12 months.
Sources insist work is well underway on a concept car, which will have a mix of A1 components and significant donations from the all-new, ubiquitous MQB architecture from the next A3.
It will be so small that it should be light enough to run the A1ís engine family, too, which will mean the latest 1.2-litre, turbo-charged, direct-injection four-cylinder engine, complete with cylinder deactivation for improved fuel mileage. With the lionís share of sales expected in Europe, it will also tote a small diesel four-cylinder as well.
Inside, the Q2 is being set up as a strict four seater, with a folding rear seat arrangement to maximize what promises to be fairly limited luggage space.
Thatís because the rear roofline is expected to swoop down significantly to produce a smaller, high-rise BMW X6-style of SUV.
It will carry a face that will be closer to the A1 in design than the new A3, while introducing a level of LED headlight technology never seen before in small cars.
Its off-road ability will be limited, understandably, as it will be a predominantly front-drive machine, with an electronic rear differential fitted on high-end versions.
Audi sources also suggest the brand is hoping its buyers take cues from the MINI and A1 experiences by heavily personalizing their Q2s with simple changes to the roof and mirror colours, major interior trim panels and even seats and steering wheel options.
A final production version of a Q2 would take between two and three years to deliver, though, and the timing of its introduction would depend largely on the model cycles of the existing Audi products around it, sources hinted. With the A3 and A1 Sportback launching this year and the Q3 launching last year, a two- to three-year development cycle would sneak it in just before Audiís small-car range opened its facelift window.
That will leave the Q3 (pictured) and the Q5 as mainstream five-door SUVs, though Audi sources also insist there are no plans to plug the obvious numerical gap between them.
ďThe question is if we need a Q4 between the Q3 and the Q5 and right now we think we donít,Ē one source suggested.
ďIn higher levels of pricing, it makes sense to have a lower-volume niche machine like the Q6, but it canít be justified in the lower segment.Ē
Our source explained the reason Audi could pursue the Q6 was that its buyers rarely took delivery of a car without first fitting a wide array of added-cost options, but that didnít happen with mid-range models.
ďPeople donít order so many options or after-market pieces in the price range a Q4 would inhabit as they do at the top. It makes it hard to justify.Ē