Audi has announced its latest SUV offering, the premium compact Q3, which will bring the total number of Audi SUVs to three. The Q3 will make its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.

As Scott Keogh, president, Audi of America, explains, "Coming off the recent A3 family announcement, we are now for the first time entering into the premium compact class of SUVs with the introduction of the Audi Q3 into our lineup. Our growing SUV family will now offer three distinct products in the premium SUV category; and like the successful Q5 and Q7, the Q3 will continue with the established standards they started with regards to utility, technology, craftsmanship, and performance."

The Q3 will be powered by a 200-hp, 207-lb-ft, 2.0-liter four, backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Front drive is standard, but Quattro permanent all-wheel drive and Audi drive select (with Comfort, Dynamic, and Auto modes) will be optional. This SUV is designed to provide excellent handling, yet still offer a comfortable ride. The front suspension uses MacPherson struts with forged aluminum lower wishbones, and the four-link rear suspension uses a separate spring and shock absorber setup for maximum interior cargo space. The Q3 also comes with electromechanical power steering and stability control with an off-road mode and hill descent assist. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, and a 19-inch design is available.

The Q3 will have features like leather seats, with 12-way power adjustment and heaters in the front seats, panoramic sunroof with a power-retractable sunshade, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and taillights, and Audi's advanced key system. Options will include a sport package, Driver Assistance package, navigation, 10-channel, 14-speaker Bose surround sound, and radar-based side assist to help in changing lanes. The Q3's optional power tailgate opens electrically, and can be opened using the key fob. This provides access to 16.2 cubic feet of cargo volume, which increases to 48.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Safety equipment includes six standard airbags: two front, thorax-pelvis side airbags in the backs of the front seats, and side curtain head airbags. There are also seat belt tensioners up front, belt force limiters and the Audi head restraint system. Rear side airbags are optional.

The Q3 is set to go on sale in fall 2014 as a 2015 model. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Source: Audi