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by Tim Beissmann

The Audi Q3 premium compact SUV has been fully unveiled ahead of its debut at next week’s Auto Shanghai 2011 motor show and its Australian launch early in 2012.

Styled like a high-riding five-door A1, the Q3 is built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Tiguan and will compete directly with the strong-selling BMW X1.

At 4390mm long, 1830mm wide and 1600mm tall, the Q3 is 40mm longer, 20mm wider and 90mm lower than the Tiguan.

With German sales set to start in June, Audi Australia’s Sean Poppit today confirmed the Audi Q3 would go on sale locally in the first half of 2012.

The Q3 will be available with four 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines – two petrols and two diesels – with the most frugal of the diesels to arrive a short time after the other three powertrains.

The 125kW 2.0 TFSI will be teamed with a six-speed manual transmission, while the 155kW petrol variant will score the seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission. The higher performance model will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds.

The 130kW 2.0 TDI will also get the S-tronic transmission when it joins the petrol models at launch. The 103kW 2.0 TDI will become available after launch with the six-speed manual transmission and combined cycle fuel consumption of less than 5.2 litres/100km.

Audi has not released specific torque figures for each engine, although it will range from 280-380Nm depending on the model. All engines will combine direct injection, start-stop technology and brake energy recovery to increase overall efficiency.

The 103kW diesel will be the only front-wheel drive model. All others models will be equipped with quattro all-wheel drive.

Although official engine specifications and pricing will be confirmed closer to the local launch date, Mr Poppit said Audi Australia would definitely offer at least one TSI and one TDI variant.

Audi will continue to focus on personalisation options for the latest addition to the range. From the outside, the Q3 will be available in 12 different colours and five customisation packages to enhance the styling, from the sporty S line kit to a tougher looking contrasting grey underbody guard and wheel arch package.

Inside, customers can choose from five different colour concepts, three fabrics, three leathers and four different inlays, including aluminium and 3D wire mesh.

From the outset, it appears the options list will be textbook Audi. Standard features (for the German market) are listed as air-conditioning and an auxiliary jack, while add-on features will include panoramic glass roof, heated sports seats, on-board computer with efficiency program, smart key, dual-zone climate control and xenon headlights. Audi Australia will confirm specifications and equipment levels closer to the local launch next year.

The 60:40 split-fold rear bench will offer seating for three, and promises extra comfort with centrally mounted air vents. Rear luggage capacity is a healthy 460 litres and will expand to 1365 litres with the seats folded down.

Other available features will include the Audi Connect audio and mobile connectivity interface, a 14-speaker Bose surround sound system, extendable seven-inch display screen with hard drive navigation and 3D mapping, internet connectivity and live traffic updates.

Driver assist features include automatic park assist, active lane assist, side assist and in-vehicle speed limit display.




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