Keeping pace with the ever-growing onslaught of crossover and SUV models, the Audi Q1 will arrive in 2016 at the bottom of the German automaker’s Q family. With development officially underway, Audi plans to produce the small crossover at its main plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, starting in less than three years' time.
Previously expected to wear Q2 badging and implement a longitudinal engine platform, Audi’s announcement confirms that the Audi Q1 will in fact utilize the modular transverse-mounted (MQB) architecture now seen in the 2015 Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf, among others. As we have previously reported, the new Audi Q1 will be loosely based on the Volkswagen Polo subcompact, which is also set to arrive in 2016, with a healthy range of powertrain options as well as front-wheel and all-wheel-drive capability.
As the above teaser photo of the Audi Q1 shows, the Audi Crosslane Coupe Concept (pictured below) shown at the 2012 Paris auto show should provide a strong indication as to the Q1's styling direction. The two-door coupe body, however, will remain on the shelf in favor of a more marketable four-door hardtop. The show car's very impressive hybrid powertrain is also slated for use in the upcoming Q1 crossover; the Crosslane Coupe Concept was said to achieve 280 mpg on the European cycle from its three-cylinder hybrid setup. However, traditional four-cylinder gas and diesel engines will also be in the cards.
With an ambitious goal to sell more than two million vehicles annually, we expect the Audi Q1 to be a major piece of Audi’s overall strategy. This past year alone, SUVs and crossovers accounted for 28 percent of Audi's production volume. Overall, the company intends to widen its product range to more than 60 total models by 2020 compared to the 49 currently available, which is expected to help the automaker sell two million cars globally per year. These plans show that Audi considers itself a serious contender in the luxury market, and it is ready to dive head-first into the ring with BMW and Mercedes-Benz for the global sales crown.