In Europe, three engines will be available at launch, all of them displacing 2.0 liters and combining turbocharging with direct injection. Two gasoline variants offer 170 or 211 horsepower, while the turbodiesel unit produces 177 horsepower; a 140-horsepower diesel will debut later. Audi says the 140-horse engine can return up to 45 mpg on U.S. testing in front-wheel-drive Q3s; the 211-horsepower model can reach 62 mph in a claimed 6.9 seconds. All of the engines have stop-start functionality to help reduce fuel consumption.

The gasoline engines and the more powerful diesel come with Audi's signature quattro all-wheel drive, while only the weaker diesel gets front drive. The 140-horsepower diesel and 170-horsepower gasoline engines are available with a six-speed manual, while the beefier engines get Audi's seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission standard.

Safety gadgets abound. Side Assist alerts drivers to vehicles in their blind spot, and Active Lane Assist can steer the vehicle if it wanders out of its lane. There's also a hill-holder feature. An available system reads speed-limit signs and displays them in the instrument cluster. For the truly lazy, the optional Park Assist will steer the Q3 into a parking space without scraping nearby objects.

The 2012 Audi Q3 will arrive in European dealerships this June. There are no confirmed plans to bring the luxury crossover to North America, but Audi has been loudly hinting that the Q3 will eventually make it to the U.S. Audi will no doubt be keeping a close eye on how the BMW X1 fares before it decides what to do.