2013 Audi Q3 SUV - FROM $
The 2013 Audi Q3 will be one of the first players in the new compact luxury crossover segment.
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Audi will be an all-new small crossover.
The 2013 Audi Q3 shares its wheelbase and suspension architecture with the Volkswagen Tiguan, yet Audi executives think it may not be prime time enough for North America. The compact crossover is, for the moment, deemed too small for American buyers -- or so goes the current party line. This might be calculated bluffing, since American buyers already have embraced the Tiguan, and BMW's forthcoming X1 shows that the suits in Munich think we're willing to pay for small, fuel-efficient crossovers bearing premium badges.
The 2013 Audi Q3 offers a quartet of four-cylinder engines in Europe. A turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter comes in either 168-horsepower or 200-hp versions, while 2.0-liter turbodiesels generate 138 hp and 175 hp, respectively. The base gasoline and diesel engines get a six-speed manual, while the top-level power plants are joined to a seven-speed automated dual-clutch transmission. All-wheel drive is standard for all but the base diesel. Audi says the most frugal 2.0 diesel with front-wheel drive will average 45 mpg, while the top gasoline engine can sprint from zero to 60 in less than 6.9 seconds.
The Q3 is nearly 10 inches shorter than the Q5, and features include a four-link rear suspension, electromechanical power steering and standard 16-inch wheels. Options include adaptive headlamps, adaptive rear dampers, a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system, hard-drive navigation, a 7-inch color display, larger wheels and full Internet capability through a wireless hotspot connection onboard (a feature we've seen in the current A6).
Inside the cabin, the 2013 Audi Q3 will offer 48 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down, while throughout the car will be a bevy of safety systems, including park assist, side assist, active lane assist and adaptive xenon headlamps.
We drove an Audi Q3 in Europe and found it unnecessarily firm in anything but Comfort mode. While the Q3 offers plenty of grip and suppresses body roll quite well, its speed-sensitive steering doesn't allow much road feel to come through. A more rugged A3 it is not. On sale in Europe for about $43,000, the price of the Audi Q3 also remains at a distance for American buyers. The success or failure of the BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque will likely play the key role in Audi's decision on whether to bring the Q3 to the United States. Check back for the latest developments as we learn them.