The premium compact SUV market is beginning to heat up. BMW is riding high with its X3, but both Mercedes-Benz and Audi aren’t planning on allowing BMW to roam free. Even Land Rover who created the segment are planning a new Freelander next year, with quality on par with the Germans.


Audi’s X3 fighter is the forthcoming Q5. Due in 2007, the 5 seater compact SUV will be based of the current A4 platform and feature the Torsen AWD system. The Quattro AWD system is set up to provide a 40/60 split for the front/rear torque distribution with 100% being transferred to any wheel when loss of traction occurs.


Styling is to follow closely to that of the 2006 Audi Q7 due to be unveiled at the 2005 Frankfurt Auto show. The distinctive shield grill dawns the front of the car with Q7 lower facia, and sleek like headlights. The rear design is reminiscent of both the A3 Sportback and recently facelifted A4 wagon. Unlike its bigger brother, the Q5 will only have room for 5. The Q5 forgoes with off-roading capability but will feature air suspension and hill decent control.


Engines likely will include the 2.0-litre FSI and 3.2-litre (or 3.6-litre FSI) V6, with the 4.2-litre V8 being fitted into the S version. Diesel power will be the main selling force in Europe with the 2.0 TDI and 3.0-litre V6 TDI both being offered.


Prices are expected to start from roughly $35,000 for a base model in the US and around 30,000 Euros in Europe. Unveiling is planned either at Geneva 2007 or fall 2007. Americans sales start in early 2008.

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