Audi Q3 – watermarked front
Audi is readying a lighter, more upmarket and practical Q3 that will arrive in dealers in 2018.
The current SUV is the oldest model in the Audi range, but increased competition within the VW Group – with the launch of the SEAT Ateca and new Volkswagen Tiguan – means it will get an overhaul inside and out to keep it on the pace. And our exclusive images show how it could look.
Under the skin, the existing Q3 uses running gear that can be traced back to the Mk5 VW Golf, and like so many other models within the VW Group, the new version will switch to the ubiquitous MQB platform – used on everything from Audi’s TT sports car to the Skoda Kodiaq SUV.
The new underpinnings present various advantages: less weight, more space and the possibility of plug-in hybrid technology.
Audi Q3 – watermarked rear
The new model will share a similar footprint to the current Q3, but there will be small increases in length and width – 60mm and 50mm respectively – while the wheelbase is expected to be stretched by up to 50mm, too.
Those gains in size will help boost practicality as Audi looks to provide more cabin space for passengers in the rear. Boot capacity is expected to increase from the current car’s 420 litres, too.
Audi is expected to follow a similar design approach to that it adopted on the second-generation Q5. This means a modest exterior revamp for the BMW X1 rival, with a new grille and sharper LED headlamps.
However, more radical changes are due inside. The current model’s cluttered dashboard and centre console design will make way for a far slicker and more ergonomic layout, inspired by the larger Q5. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display will replace the conventional instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, while a dashboard that is designed horizontally rather than vertically will increase the visual width of the cabin.
The new MQB chassis also opens up a range of new engine possibilities for the Q3, with the most significant being a plug-in hybrid e-tron. It won’t arrive immediately, however, and is likely to land around 12 months after the Q3’s initial launch. The powertrain is expected to comprise a 1.4-litre TFSI engine and an electric motor, which combine to deliver official economy of over 150mpg with CO2 emissions below 40g/km.
Auto Express also understands Audi is plotting an all-electric Q3. It could use underpinnings from the updated VW e-Golf, which now boasts a range of 186 miles. The car would offer a quick-charge set-up to make the Q3 EV a more viable proposition for consumers.
At the opposite end of the range will be an RS Q3. It’s likely to use the latest version of Audi’s five-cylinder turbo, which is not only lighter – it’s made from aluminium – but also far more powerful, with 394bhp. As in the current car, it will be transmitted via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive. The rest of the range will comprise four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with displacements of 1.5 and 2.0 litres. Power will range from 148bhp to 218bhp.