Audi boss Rupert Stadler revealed at Audi's press conference today that the Q1 remains on track for its 2016 launch.
The new model will be based on the smallest version of the new MQB platform that underpins the Volkswagen Golf. It will be built at a new factory currently being constructed at Audi’s Ingolstadt HQ.
The use of the sophisticated MQB platform and the fact it is built in Germany suggest the Q1 will be an upmarket machine with a price to match, rather than a cheaper, entry-level, model like the A1 supermini.
At today’s annual conference Stadler also revealed that a new "sportier Q model" would be introduced at the top of the brand’s SUV line-up, suggesting that Audi will finally have a competitor for the BMW X6.
Audi first confirmed the Q1 for production in 2013 and design work has already been signed off, Audi design chief Marc Lichte revealed at the Los Angeles motor show in November 2014.
The Q1 is one of several new SUVs planned by Audi as it seeks to grow its SUV sales from about 30% of total volume now to 35% by 2020. A sporty Q8, based on the Q7, has already been confirmed, while the Q6, a sporty version of the Q5 which has long been speculated about, was also confirmed by Stadler today.
However, Audi does not own the badges Q2 or Q4, so there’ll be no Audi models by these names unless it buys the rights to them.
The Q1 is part of Audi’s wider plans to swell its model line-up to 60 by 2020. It will be Audi’s entry-level SUV, based on the shortest version of the MQB platform.
The Q1 is understood to be similar in length, width and wheelbase to the three-door A3, which is 4237mm long and 1777mm tall, with a 2601mm wheelbase. The Q1 sits higher than the A3, though, complete with a raised SUV seating position.
Audi is pitching the Q1 at younger buyers and insiders say it is a response to a demand for ever-smaller premium models. Indeed, the A3 has now surpassed the A4 as Audi’s biggest seller.
The engine range will be taken from the A3 and the Q1 will be offered with standard front-wheel drive or optional quattro all-wheel drive.
In its design, the new Q1 is set to feature elements from Audi’s next-generation design language, which will be fully launched with the new A8 in late 2016.
The Q1 design was largely finished before Lichte joined Audi from sister brand Volkswagen earlier this year, replacing Wolfgang Egger. But Lichte has been able to add several design features to the Q1, such as a less aggressive grille than that of the new Q7 and a more muscular body. Stylistic elements include a sculpted insert running across the top of the doors and different-coloured C-pillars to give the sloping roof a floating appearance. Body cladding also features at the bottom of the car.
The Q1 is likely to be revealed in thinly veiled concept form in 2015 before the production version is launched in 2016. The model was previewed previously as the Crosslane Coupé in 2012, but the design has moved on significantly since then.
“The Q1 is part of our broad based SUV strategy and a key component of our growth strategy,” added Stadler. “It is designed on the modular transverse engine concept.”