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Audi Q1 greenlit, proves small is the new big

Audi has confirmed that it will put the new Q1 baby-SUV into production in 2016. The Q1 will be Audi’s smallest ever off-roader, boosting the German car maker’s SUV portfolio to four models and slotting into the bottom of the range below the existing Q3, Q5 and Q7.

The Audi Q1 may be small, but it'll probably be quite mighty.
The Audi Q1 may be small, but it’ll probably be quite mighty.

Rivalling other small ‘soft-roaders’ like the Mini Paceman and Ford EcoSport, the Q1 is likely to be based on the A1 supermini platform when it goes into production at Audi’s Ingolstadt plant. Although no mechanical details have been announced as yet, the Q1 will almost certainly be available in both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive guises and with an engine range likely to mirror that of the A1; with 1.2- and 1.4-litre TFSI petrol and 1.6- and 2.0-litre TDI diesel powerplants.

If the “artists impression” that has also been released is any indication, the Q1 will feature aggressive and sporty styling, with bold lines, sharp angles and a coupe-esque roofline the dominating features. Despite this, the Q1 (in concept form at least) retains the five-door practicality of the A1, something that cannot be said of the Paceman coupe.

The news follows the huge success of both the A1 supermini and the Q3 small-SUV, and serves as a clear indication that Audi is committed to chasing customers in the ever-growing small premium car market.

Currently, Audi’s Q-range accounts for around 28 per cent of the company’s sales; a figure it predicts will rise to 35 per cent by 2020. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, said, “The Audi Q1 is part of our broad-based SUV strategy. It is designed on the basis of the modular transverse engine concept and will round off our Q series at the bottom end.”

-Tom Gregory

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