2012 Audi Q3 vs. Bmw X1: let the games begin!

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 19, 2011

The Q3 compact SUV from Audi, Volkswagen AG's luxury brand, will compete against the X1 of BMW AG as the two luxury carmakers hope to take advantage of the increasing demand for SUVs in urban areas. Audi is aiming to outperform BMW as the leading company in the luxury cars segment, which BMW created when it introduced the X1’s in 2009.

In 2010, BMW recorded sales of almost 100,000 X1s, accounting for 8.2 percent of the company’s overall sales. On the other hand, Audi is planning an annual production of 100,000 units for the Q3, according to Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler during the Shanghai motor show.

The Q3 will go on sale in June with a starting price of 29,900 euros, making the vehicle model around 7,000 euros cheaper than the mid-sized Q5 models. In addition, the Q3 is also 24 centimeters (9.5 inches) shorter than the Q5. The Q3 will appeal to the emerging urban centers market, especially to the female drivers, Audi's development chief Michael Dick disclosed in an interview at the motor show.

In order to meet stricter environmental regulations as well as to attract drivers in the urban market, luxury automakers are expanding their product lines of compact vehicles. For one, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz is planning a small SUV, and will begin launching an extended range of four compact vehicles with an overhauled B class within the year.

Also, Alfa Romeo of Fiat S.p.A. is contemplating on developing a compact SUV when it goes back to the United States. Frankfurt-based analyst Christoph Stuermer at IHS Automotive stated that the compact vehicle is something that suburban moms will drive to bring their children around.

He added that the vehicle is a niche alternative for large urban areas in Japan, Europe and China. According to BMW spokesperson, Andreas Lampka, the company intends to maintain its position in the segment with the X1 being the company’s second bestseller after the X5. The X1, which is installed with cleaner engines, is sold in all markets outside North America.

Audi Q3

The Q3 looks powerful, sporty and robust, features that give it a unique road stance. Its revolutionary design is strongly incorporated into Audi’s design language. The brand is known to bring several ideas and advancements exhibited in its show cars and production vehicles. The Audi Q3 adopts the 2007 Cross Coupé quattro showcar’s concept.

The dimensions of the Audi Q3 reveal its dynamic lines through numbers. This compact SUV has a length of 4,385 mm (14.39 ft), width of 1,831 mm (6.01 ft), and a height of just 1,590 mm (5.22 ft), excluding the antenna and roof rail. The wheelbase has a measurement of 2,603 mm (8.54 ft) and has short overhangs. The Q3 has a coupe-like roofline plus sharply sloped D-pillars that give it a detailed sporty profile.

Its front end is sculpted to a great extent and has strong features. The single-frame radiator grille’s upper corners are slanted and vertical elements dominate the lattice. Two rising lines on the sides extend until it reaches the engine hood. Large air inlets that come with horizontal bars emphasize the powerful look of the compact SUV and accommodate standard fog lights.

The Audi Q3 has wedge-shaped headlights just like its bigger brothers, the Q5 and the Q7. They are built-in deeply into the body while the turn signals are found at the back of an aluminum-coated fascia vapor.

Daytime running lights with typical halogen headlights come standard in each Audi. These daytime running lights, with xenon plus units as an option, are applied as 2 light-emitting diodes that jointly use only 10 watts with a light that is radiated by means of a light guide. This light guide comes in the form of a flat, U-shaped clasp open to the outside.

Headlights can be matched with the high-beam assistant, available as an option, first seen in the compact SUV division. The system makes use of a small camera to sense other vehicles then automatically alternates between the high and low beams. An additional option (high-end) is an adaptive light, a dynamic cornering light.

Coupe-Style Roof

The flowing, coupe-like roof dominates the view from the side as it begins to slope back downward. It flows towards the distinctively flat D-pillar, reminiscent of the A3 models. The pillar lends an energetic look to the rear, which is further emphasized by a long roof spoiler. The ratio of sheet metal to greenhouse 2/3:1/3 is characteristic of the brand’s sporty design language.

The prominent wheel arches that have the offset wheel wells are able to accommodate wheels up to a maximum diameter of 19 inches.

Sharp lines on the flanks athletically frame arched sheet metal surfaces. Their path, which is wedge-shaped, provides the Q3 with a lean, fast look. The defining shadow contour is called the tornado line. This starts at the headlights then runs under the window edge towards the tail lights. The dynamic line on top of the side sills is also part of the Audi library. There is another line in the sills’ area that further increases the tension.

Door handles have a distinct bow shape while the housing of the side mirrors comes with sport LED turn signals. The winding tailgate highlights the width of the rear end, typical of Q models. The tailgate, with a 3-D look, cuts back several centimeters on top of the license plate. The tailgate can be unlocked by means of an electric button located underneath this edge. Another feature that distinguishes the Q models is the big, undivided tail lights that are wedge-shaped like the headlights. The 3-D look continues to the interior.

Topics: bmw, bmw x3, audi, audi q3

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