Audi makes well-engineered conservatively-designed vehicles. It is seen as the German luxury make for those who don’t want the overt aggression of BMW or the extravagance of Mercedes-Benz. The cars suit a great many people down to the ground and the “soft-roader” Q5 and lately the compact Q3 have been very successful. They are not cars for driving enthusiasts however - the Q3 was recently called “unremittingly dull” in a well respected UK auto magazine (Evo) and every now and then Audi feels the need to prove that it has a wilder side. For the upcoming Beijing Motor Show it was the Q3’s turn for some conceptual wildness.
Audi calls this a concept car but the thing is so obviously close to production-ready that only some unlikely disaster would prevent it hitting the road within a year.
Audi makes a great fuss in the press material about the styling changes to the car but they are not earth shattering. The font valance carries the usual wide air intakes and front splitter that all “hot” cars must sport. There are bigger, fatter wheels in extended wheel arches and the body sits an inch (25 mm) lower The interior has some nice styling touches including carbon fiber panels infused with a brilliant blue luminescent weave. Even the engine bay has been “styled’ with carbon fiber and aluminum covers (is this a thing now?).
Some of this may or may not make the final cut. What everybody wants to know is how the vehicle goes and here there is cause for optimism. The engine specified is from the Audi TT RS and is a 2.5 liter 5 cylinder unit producing a serious 360 bhp (265 kW). Performance is quoted as 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 5.2 seconds with an unrestricted top speed of 165 mph (265 km/h). This is how you know the vehicle is for production - Audi has obviously been testing it with a finished drive-train and body-shell.
There is seven speed gearbox driving all four wheels with a front wheel bias and that’s really all there is to know. Now we wait a few months for the road tests and the probably shocking price tag.
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