Jul
06

Audi Quattro Concept

The Q2 will bear visual overtones to the sleek 2010 Concept Quattro Coupe (pictured).

Volkswagen Group’s premium brand is prepping a small, sporty crossover SUV to counter the compact Mini Countryman, a rumored BMW X2, and an expected Mercedes-Benz GLC. Britain’s Autocar magazine says that Audi’s Q2 will debut at the fall 2015 Frankfurt IAA expo. European sales will likely begin several months later. U.S. availability is unclear, but we’d guess the odds are better than 50/50.

Autocar also reports that the Q2 will be previewed at this fall’s Paris Auto Salon as a 2-door concept bearing visual overtones of the sleek 2010 Concept Quattro Coupe. The production version will have a more practical 4-door body, but it should echo the Quattro Coupe’s sloping rear roof line, slit-like headlamps, beveled hood, and bulged, squarish wheel arches.

Audi currently sells two SUVs in the U.S., the compact Q5 and the large Q7; a compact Q3 is due to join up for 2014. However, strong demand in both the U.S. and China has prompted Audi to eventually blanket the global market with no fewer than seven SUVs in all. Besides Q2, the new additions comprise a large top-line Q8, basically a sleeker Q7; a similar Q5-based midsize Q6; and a coupe-like Q4 related to the Q3 and Q5. Again, it’s unclear how many of these would come to North America, though the Q8 seems a pretty safe bet.

The Q2 will be considerably smaller than the Q5. Autocar’s sources put overall length in the region of 163.4 inches (versus 182.2) and wheelbase at around 98.4 inches (versus 110.6). Like the next-generation VW Golf and Audi Q3 compact cars (both due here for 2014), the Q2 is based on VW Group’s new MQB “modular matrix” platform designed for small, transverse-mounted engines running front-wheel and all-wheel drive.

Autocar notes that Euro-market Q2s will offer a choice of six 4-cylinder powerplants: three gasoline and three diesels—all turbocharged. Mainstream U.S. versions would likely list a 170-horsepower petrol-fired 1.4-liter and a 180-horsepower 2.0-liter turbodiesel. But Autocar adds that a driver-oriented Q2 S is in the works with the same 225-horsepower gasoline 2.0-liter that’s destined for the next-generation VW GTI, and this strikes us as a strong prospect for U.S. sale.

According to Autocar’s sources, all Q2 engines will team with 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox that operates somewhat like a conventional automatic. The available AWD is said to be a part-time system with a multi-plate clutch that sends power to the rear wheels as needed. It’s basically the same setup used on VW’s Golf R “hot hatch.” In addition, all models will come with fuel-saving tech such as an engine stop/start function and brake-energy recuperation. Audi’s premium positioning assures a full complement of standard dynamic-safety features such as stability control and ABS 4-wheel disc brakes, and the brand’s “Drive Select” chassis tailoring system is certain to be on the options list, perhaps even standard for some models.

The Q2 may be a sister to the small VW crossover that’s lately been confirmed by Autocar and other sources and is likely to be patterned on the 2011 Cross Coupe concept. Though this, too, may or may not see U.S. sale, it should be much like the Audi in size and technical makeup, but with fewer standard amenities and more-affordable pricing.

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