Audi Q1 compact crossover coming in 2016

Audi Q1, set to appear in 2016, is one of dozens of new crossovers to join the auto market. The Audi Q1 will find a niche below Audi's Q3 and Q5, Ingram writes.

Michaela Rehle/Reuters/File
An Audi A4 logo is pictured at the production line of the German car manufacturer's plant in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt. The Audi Q1, due out in 2016, will be produced at the Ingolstadt plant.

The last few years have seen dozens of new crossovers join the market, and latest into the fray is the Audi Q1, set to appear in 2016.

The appeal of crossover vehicles is clear--they offer the looks and some of the ability of SUVs, but their car-based origins means better on-road handling, better performance and usually, better fuel economy.

Audi already sells a whole range of crossovers and SUVs, from the A6-based Allroad through the Q5, to the huge Q7. In Europe and some other markets, Audi also sells the A3-based Q3--not unsurprisingly, sitting below the Q5 in the automaker's range.

The Q1 would find a further niche below these models. Size-wise, it'll compete with vehicles like the MINI Countryman and Nissan Juke. Pricing too is expected to rival the Countryman, according to Autocar

While the name implies some relation to the Volkswagen Polo-based Audi A1 subcompact sold in some markets, the Q1 is actually destined to sit on the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform.

That means a potentially huge range of engines will be available, since the MQB platform is currently used for the latest Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3--cars available not only with gasoline and diesel engines, but as natural gas, plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars too. It's still too early to tell which of these units may find their way into the Q1, though gasoline and diesel are both certainties.

The importance of the Q1 to Audi is clear. Autocar reports that SUVs currently account for 28 percent of Audi's portfolio, expected to rise to 35 percent by 2020. It also confirms a future for the Ingolstadt production facility in Germany, where the Q1 will be produced.

In terms of styling, the Q1 is set to take inspiration from the Crosslane Coupe shown at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. As the teaser image shows, it's also likely to take some details from recent Audi concepts like the Sport Quattro Concept shown at Frankfurt earlier this year.

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