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Priced at around £25,000 for the entry-level, front-driving 2.0 TDi 140PS, against just under £28,000 for a basic Evoque, and with aggression and stance to (almost) match the Evoque; perhaps the new baby Range won’t have it all its own way in what looks to be a hotly contested new segment of SUV ownership. There’ll be more - in the metal - pics of the Q3 when it makes its public debut at the Shanghai Motor Show, next week.

Like the Evoque, you won’t be immediately able to buy the most basic model, with the more premium end of the range of both the Range Rover and Audi cars rolling into showrooms first.

Manufacturers make a better profit on the more spec’d-up cars, and it’s likely that they’re expecting that the excitement surrounding these more eco-friendly, but still pretty chunky, mini SUVs will tempt customers to part with a little more new-car-cash in the early sale days.

So, the Q3 arrives on the back of the respectively bigger Q5 and Q7 models; both of which sold well against Audi’s self-set targets, and clearly Audi has identified a consumer want for tall and commanding SUV-style cars that deliver a premium feel, stern stares and practical inner space, but without the stigma attached to driving a full-size, gas-guzzling SUV.

Three engines at launch, all direct injection and turbocharged – currently the best way to mix performance and economy - and all utilizing start-stop and energy recuperation systems – 2.0 TFSI 170PS (168bhp), 2.0 TFSI 211PS (208bhp) and 2.0 TDI 177 PS (175bhp). The range-topping, 208bhp 2.0-litre TFSI unit powers the Q3 from 0 - 62mph in 6.9secs and on to a 143mph top speed, which is in exactly the same performance ballpark as the quickest Evoque. Economy-wise, the 2.0 TDI 140PS front-wheel-driver - which weighs-in under 1,500kg - is said to be capable of 54.3mpg, but again, this Q3 will be the latest to the range.

The 2.0 TDI 140PS and 2.0 TFSI 170PS engines will be mated to 6-speed manual transmission as standard, while the 2.0 TDI 177PS and 2.0 TFSI 211PS units will feature the Audi’s 7-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission.

Continue reading @ Audi will show its latest Q series SUV at the Shanghai Motor Show next week, and at entry-level the Q3 looks to undercut the Range Rover Evoque by around £3k
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