For the 2011 model year, two luxury German automakers are entering the premium compact SUV marketplace. Due to fuel prices, the downturn in the international economy, and success of smaller premium SUVs such as the Acura RDX and Infiniti EX35, Audi and BMW are both introducing new models. They are debuting the Q3 and X1, respectively for the 2011 model year.
Audi’s new Q3 will be built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Tiguan compact SUV and share much of what is offered in the Tiguan. Volkswagen owns Audi. The Q3 will offer sporty styling and an available turbo-diesel engine, producing excellent power while achieving excellent fuel economy.
While pictures of the Q3 have not been released, it is expected to be similar to the Cross Coupe Concept Audi presented in 2007. Audi hopes the Q3 will bolster its goal of becoming the world’s top selling premium auto brand.
With the X1, BMW continues to expand its SUV product line. BMW did not even offer an SUV until 11 years ago and in 2011 will offer four models, the X1, X3, X5 and X6. The X6 debuted last year as a stylish coupe like SUV with an optional V-8 engine. The X1 builds on BMWs momentum to fill the premium compact SUV market segment. It is based off BMW’s 1-Series compact car.
The X1 is expected to takes its styling cues from the X3/X5 models. A 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder producing about 240 horsepower is expected to be the engine offering. Side curtain airbags, traction/antiskid, and antilock brakes should all be standard.
Both of these 5-seat models are expected have starting prices of about $35,000 and may not go on sale until the 2011 calendar year. It will be interesting to see how the Q3 and X1 fare in the market place. Lexus is also preparing to enter the premium compact SUV market with a new model based off the Toyota RAV-4.