The Audi Q2, formerly known as the Q1, and in the works since at least 2009, could be another three years in coming, according to the latest reports. Aimed at taking on the space filled by the MINI Countryman and its ilk, it could just see sales here in the U.S., too.

With such a long gestation period, however, it's clear that if the project is alive at Audi, it's waiting for market conditions to justify its construction: premium pricing for small cars, especially in the U.S., just hasn't quite caught on yet. Porsche's approach to the 550 Spyder project is a good example of similar thinking in the VW Group--anything is possible, but the timing has to be right for the market and for the brand.

According to Autocar, the wheelbase of the Q2, around 2.5 meters, places it right between the A1 and the A3. For Audi, however, a compact crossover may not be as big a gamble as an entry-level sports car would be for Porsche. The A3 already has its own niche carved out, and the Q2 would likely be similar in size, yet packaged in the more American-palate crossover fashion. On the other hand, smallest Audi, the A1, was deemed unsuited to U.S. tastes. The slightly larger Q3 was due to arrive in the U.S. this spring, but still hasn't materialized on Audi's retail site--or on dealer lots.

As for specs, it's looking like the Q2 will offer front- and all-wheel drive versions, with a mix of small turbo four-cylinder engines (plus diesels in Europe). Power output should sit in the 170- to 200-horsepower range, and gears will likely shift via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, with an available six-speed manual.