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Audi will introduce the all-new Q3 to the local market during the second quarter in 2012.

The Q3 is immediately recognisable as the youngest member of the expanding Audi range. The styling is an expression of its sporty character. The new model offers customers the option to tailor many aspects to make a car that reflects their active lifestyle while providing ample space for five occupants.

The space continues through to the luggage compartment of the compact SUV has a capacity of 460 litres, which can be increased to 1,365 litres, without rear seat passengers, by folding down the split rear seat backs.

The Audi Q3 is being launched with a choice of three engines – one TDI and two TFSI units, with engine specifications for its Australian launch to be announced closer to the launch date. All three four-cylinder engines combine direct injection with turbocharging, and will feature not only an energy recovery system but also a start-stop system. With engines ranging from 125 kW to 155 kW, these engines are as efficient as they are powerful. Scheduled to appear somewhat later, the Q3 2.0 TDI with 103 kW and front-wheel drive will average less than 5.2 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. (copyright image)
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Audi combines all three of the initial engines with quattro permanent all-wheel drive, which works with a hydraulic multi-plate clutch. The seven-speed S tronic is standard in all models equipped with the most powerful TDI and TFSI engines. The ultra-compact and fast-shifting dual-clutch transmission showcases an innovation that enhances efficiency even further. When coasting, it allows the Audi Q3 to free-wheel when the “Efficiency” mode of Audi drive select is active. Shift paddles on the steering wheel are optionally available.

The chassis of the Q3 – featuring a four-link rear suspension, electromechanical power steering and wheels measuring between 16 and 19 inches in diameter – is the fruit of great design labor. An electromechanical parking brake and hill hold assist are standard, with hill-descent assist to be available later. Audi drive select enables the driver to adjust various technology modules, including the optional active dampers, in four stages to suit his or her individual driving style.

The advanced driver assist systems are taken from the luxury class models and include park assist programmes and hard-drive navigation system MMI navigation plus.

The Q3’s rigid, safe and quiet occupant cell integrates a number of ultra-high-strength steels. Both the bonnet and the tailgate are made of aluminium. As is typical of the Q models from Audi, the undivided tail lights are integrated into the tailgate, which wraps around the pillars. At just 0.32, the coefficient of drag is unusually low. The compact SUV is 4.39 metres long, 1.83 metres wide and 1.59 metres high.

The Audi Q3 comes generously appointed with a long list of standard equipment. It also offers a choice of optional equipment, including the adaptive light system for the xenon plus headlights, the high-beam assistant, the panoramic glass roof, the LED interior lighting package and power-adjustable front seats.

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The range of driver assistance systems redefines the compact SUV class. The park assist system manoeuvres the vehicle into tight parking spots autonomously, when selected upon identifying a suitable parking 'spot'. All the driver has to do is apply the throttle and the brakes. The system also detects and warns the driver of obstacles to the sides. Audi side assist employs radar to help change lanes, and Audi active lane assist makes slight steering corrections as necessary to help stay in the lane. The speed limit display recognises and presents important traffic signs.

Audi offers a comprehensive range of modular infotainment components. Topping the range of options is the hard-drive navigation system MMI navigation plus, which displays high-resolution 3D graphics on a fold-out 7.0-inch colour monitor. The Bose surround sound system delivers 465 watts of power to fourteen speakers.

The Audi Q3 went on sale in Europe in June and goes on sale in Australia in the second quarter of 2012. Local pricing and specification will be announced closer to the launch date.


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