Audi has announced it will build its ‘Q1', a micro-SUV that (a) will rival the Mini Countryman and (b) proves Ingolstadt hasn't quite run out of numbers for its Q-cars.
Here comes the Audi Q1 softroader
Audi confirms its baby-baby SUV will arrive in 2016 to do battle with the Mini Countryman
The new baby ‘baby' SUV will sit on the VW Group's modular transverse engine platform - the fabled MQB Lego set that underpins practically all of the Group's small, front-engined cars including the Golf and A3 - and will begin production in 2016.
No word on engines powering the new Q1 - a car previewed by the CrossLane concept last year (pics 2-5 above) -but expect the same kind of firepower you'll get in the A3 range - namely, a range of super-efficient diesels and petrols. We're also not-so-secretly hoping for that wonderful 3.0-litre BiTDI engine to make an (very squeezed) appearance, and it's likely you'll see an ‘RSQ1', though maybe with a 2.0-litre turbo instead of that lovely 2.5-litre five-pot.
The Q1 will be, says Audi, a fine way to round off the ‘Q' series of cars at the bottom end of the scale, and will be built at the Ingolstadt factory, reassuring Germans that yes, as Audi swells into a massive international brand, its homeland still matters. "This is a clear commitment to Ingolstadt as a production site," said Peter Mosch, chairman of the general works council. "We will continue to make all efforts to develop the plant even further as the leading technological site of the Audi Group."
It'll have to: Audi plans to increase its model range from the current 49 to more than 60 by the year 2020, at which point it expects to sell a total of two million cars every year. Market = PENETRATED.
In fact, you'll be seeing a lot more of these big Audis on the road too; sales of the Q5 are up, and SUVs will make up more than 35 per cent of Audi's total production volume by 2020. Yikes.
Question is, what on earth will Audi do if it decides an even smaller SUV is viable? The Q-1? The Q0.5?