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2015 Audi Q3 Spy Shots

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Audi is working on an update for its Q3 compact crossover, and these are the first spy shots of a prototype. The Q3 was first shown in 2011 and was promised for the U.S. market less than a year later. It hasn't arrived yet but that may change with the introduction of this facelifted model.

According to recent reports, Audi is waiting until the launch of the facelifted Q3 before finally introducing it to the U.S. The vehicle is expected to be revealed towards the end of the year, meaning we’ll likely see it in showrooms in early 2015.

One of the main reasons the Q3 isn’t already on sale locally is due to it not being compatible with some of the requirements for “light truck” classification. At issue is the current Q3’s approach angle, which will be changed as part of the facelift.

Though heavily masked, we can gather some details from this prototype. The facelifted Q3 sports new bumpers at both ends. The headlights have also been revised and are characterized by new patterns for the daytime running lights.   

The good news is that the high-performance RS Q3 variant is said to be included in Audi’s U.S. plans for the Q3. This model just went on sale in Europe and packs the same turbocharged and direct-injected 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine found in the RS 3 and TT RS, albeit detuned to about 310 horsepower.

As for the regular lineup, at least here in the U.S. potentially, look for the base Q3 to come with a 1.8-liter TFSI with around 170 horsepower on tap. Also on offer would likely be a more powerful 2.0-liter TFSI unit. A dual-clutch transmission is likely to be standard across the range.

Key rivals for the Q3 are the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, though buyers may also be interested in an upcoming Lexus compact crossover, the NX, or Buick's slightly smaller Encore.

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