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 |  Apr 17 2012, 8:15 PM

Revealed ahead of its 2012 Auto China in Beijing debut is the Audi RS Q3 Concept boasting 360-hp from the same 2.5-liter TFSI engine that powers the TT-RS.

The German automaker’s Q3 concept has one goal: “It interprets the character of the compact SUV in a very special way – systematically dynamic.” The RS Q3 has been lowered almost an inch and widened, showing off the potential of the Q3 in an all new fashion.

The matte Ordos Blue finish on the exterior has been contrasted with brushed and polished aluminum trim frames while the single-frame black radiator grille undoubtedly resembles Audi styling. But it’s not your run-of-the-mill Q3 grille; Audi has slightly offset they honeycombs to give it a unique, three-dimensional effect. The headlights are slightly tinted while the carbon-fiber mirror covers are a nice touch.

The more aggressive front bumper sports carbon fiber components, including the front lip. The rear gets a similar tinted treatment on the taillights while the diffuser houses two large elliptical exhaust tips, typical of the RS style.

On the inside, the black and blue theme continues with plenty of carbon fiber and Fine Nappa leather. Dark blue Alcantara was used on the seats to contrast the rest of the black leather throughout the interior.

Most interesting is the 2.5-liter five-cylinder powerplant that boasts 360-hp thanks to a turbocharger. According to Audi, the RS Q3 hits 62-mph in just 5.2 seconds, very impressive for a compact SUV. Mated to a seven-speed S tronic transmission, the 2.5-liter TFSI powerplant also features Audi’s coveted quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Rounding off the concept is a set of 20-inch wheels paired to 255/30/20 tires.

This is definitely one of those concepts we hope Audi makes a reality – a high-performance compact SUV certainly has a place in this world.

GALLERY: Audi RS3 Q3 Concept

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 |  Jan 06 2012, 9:45 AM

2012 Audi Q3 10.jpg

The battle axes are sharpened and starting to swing in Germany between the three largest luxury car makers, as Audi admits for the first time that they plan to sell their compact Q3 SUV in America.

The Volkswagen-based luxury brand has been hinting and teasing the notion that we might get the Q3 on North American soil, but until now there wasn’t any way to be sure. Now Audi has confirmed it will reveal a Q3 “Vail” Concept at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday, using the vehicle as part of a larger strategy to overtake BMW as the top-selling luxury brand by 2015.

“The next pillar of the market that we have to conquer is the United States,” Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said in London on Thursday. “We see opportunities in the SUV and sedan segments.”

Audi has been growing as a brand outside the U.S. but making a more solid footprint in the American market is essential for them to meet their goal. Here in the States BMW and Mercedes still have a strong grip on luxury sales, but by introducing smaller cars, Audi may be able to change that. Along with the Q3, Audi is expected to deliver several versions of its next generation A3, including a sedan.

Another key point in their strategy will be manufacturing cars domestically rather than shipping and therefore significantly limiting availability to consumers, something BMW and Mercedes have already figured out.

It isn’t as easy as flipping a switch, though, according to Stadler, Audi is finally profitable in America, giving them the confidence to go from wading into full swim.

“In the next decade, we will have to think about the next icon in the Audi brand,” Stadler said. Given the strong trend toward smaller, more economy-minded cars, we’re eager to see what he has up his sleeve.

GALLERY: Audi A3 Concept

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[Source: Automotive News]