Audi will extend its line-up of SUV models over the next few years to help it meet the growing global demand for such vehicles.
It already has three - Q3, Q5, Q7 - and will add a further two, possibly three, including a coupe-type Q6 to rival the BMW X6.
To meet domination of the SUV sector by compact models, Audi is working on an A2-based Q2, a computer rendition of which is pictured on this page.
A Q4 to plug the numerical gap between Q3 and Q5 has also been rumoured, although reports in Europe say Audi doesn't think there is a room for Q4. A concept Q2 is expected to be unveiled within the next 12 months, although a production version is unlikely to appear before 2015-16. It will almost certainly be based on the Volkswagen Group's MQB architecture, the platform that underpins the new A3 and next VW Golf, and be similar in size to the Nissan Juke, a car that Audi designers admit using as a reference point for the Q2. The Q2 will go head to head with the Mini Countryman.
Engines will draw on those already found in the A1, including the latest 1.4-litre direct-injection four-cylinder turbo, complete with cylinder deactivation, and an efficient 1.6-litre diesel. Key features will be unique body styling and a raised ride height for greater ground clearance and a more commanding seating position.
Inside, the Q2 is being set up as a strict four-seater, with a folding rear seat layout to maximise what promises to be limited luggage space because of its swooping roofline, a feature of the Q6 and the trend-setting BMW X6. The Q2's face introduces advanced LED headlight technology never before seen in small cars. Off-road ability will be limited, as the Q2 range will be predominantly front-wheel drive, although higher-powered versions will get four-wheel drive.
Audi will encourage buyers to personalise their Q2s. They will be able to change roof and mirror colours, interior trim panels, and even seats and steering wheel options.
The Q6 will be based on the Q5 platform that will also underpin the Porsche Cajun. As part of a new engineering programme aimed at lowering the weight of all future Audi models, it will have a predominantly aluminium body with composite plastic and carbonfibre elements.
The Q3 was launched in NZ last month.By Alastair Sloane Email Alastair