2012 Audi Q3: A Compact, Lightweight, Expensive SUV

2012 Audi Q3, front

The new Audi Q3 has all the appearance of a winner. It will be shown at Shanghai (if you happen to be in the neighborhood) and is already getting lots of media attention.

From what we read and see, the car achieves a nice blend of performance, styling, interior room and fuel economy. It looks like what an SUV should look like, as opposed to the hideous, corpulent barge that is the Q7.

You still get Audi’s gaping-grille styling, but somehow the proportions overall are better. Plus, the car weighs in at 3,300 pounds and is a model of how to engineer a modern car for performance and efficiency. The 2-liter TDI diesel version (to come later) is claimed to get over 45 mpg.

2012 Audi TQ rearThis is a new market segment for Audi, and while the car is based on the Tiguan platform, the Q3 is a quite different animal. Two gas engines (170 and 211 hp) will be offered, along with a 177-hp TDI. There’s talk about a future SQ3 with 270 hp.

It has lots of luggage space, a luxo interior that you can customize with many choices and all the techno goodies a person who hates driving could want.

Of course, all this goodness comes at a stiff price. In Germany, beginning in June, that will be €29,900 (or about $43,300 U.S.) to start. And we don’t yet know whether the car will be available in the U.S. But the company would be foolish not to bring it in—and price it competitively.

Look at the competition: BMW’s X1 resembles something out of the 1930s, and you can’t get it in the U.S.; the X3 is better but still stodgy; the small Jeeps are a joke; the Acura RDX doesn’t have the fit and finish or the engineering. Then you get into cars like the Land Rover LR2. Oh well.

Come on, Audi, give the Q3 a shot in the U.S. Your new baby can beat these guys.

Is there a market in the U.S. for cars like the Audi Q3? What do you think?


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  1. 3300 pounds for a vehicle in this class is great– SUV space and utility with mid-size car weight. The Diesel is a great feature too. It’s too bad that we can’t get vehicle like this at a more reasonable price, perhaps the Koreans will move more in this direction, with Diesels and without the UFO styling that appeals mainly to 120-pound hamsters.

  2. Right on jgoods! If VW prices this the way it is pricing the Jetta and Passat replacements, this baby could be huge. If they intro it at the Euro price, this baby is dead in the water for many of us that would pay more just to move up for the quality and engineering it seems to possess.

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