Audi's patented Niche Generation Unit has swung into action once again. Unsurprisingly, there aren't many surprises with Audi's new Q3, unveiled today ahead of next week's Shanghai Motor Show.
The "Q5 minus 20%" was originally mooted as the first in a new compact-lux-SUV segment. But with the likes of the BMW X1, Range Rover Evoque and Mini's Countryman all now up and running, it will be interesting to see how this fairs.
Design-wise, save for a bit of nip-tuckery, it's still very reminiscent of the Cross Coupe Quattro concept from the Shanghai show all the way back in 2007. And, of course, reminiscent of every other Audi currently being designed: the gaping chrome-framed mouth, LED daytime running lights, stoned-Darth-Vader taillights and that high-shouldered swage line.
All three engine options will be 2.0-litre four-pot turbos with direct injection and stop/start systems. The TFSI petrol unit comes in two flavours - 168bhp and 208bhp - but you can only get the TDI with 175bhp for now (a 140bhp version's coming later in the year). The diesel and top-spec petrol models get Audi's Quattro four-wheel drive system as standard. The others, which are front drive, can only have it as an option.
Transmission-wise there's a six-speed manual as standard on the lesser petrol engines, everything else gets a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch auto. It'll be an option on all Q3s, though.
The interior - where the Q3 will hope to steal a march on the competition - is quintessentially Audi: pop-up sat-nav, plush leather chairs, sinister red lighting and the usual I Can't Believe It's Not Chrome embellishments.
Lots of good stuff on the options list too: Audi Drive Select (lets you adjust the throttle and steering), adaptive xenon lights, hill-hold assist, a 14-speaker Bose sound system, panoramic glass roof, and various blind spot and lane keeping assistance systems. You can also customize the body with either a sporty S-line pack, Allroad-style plastic nappy or an off-road styling kit.
No design revolution then (here's Sniff Petrol's take on the Q3), yet we imagine this is going to sell rather well. Thoughts?