Audi is looking to enter a market it has never been in before. Cars like BMW’s X3 and Acura’s RDX have all but dominated the small SUV/crossover segment. With the combination of high driving position without the intimidation of driving a large vehicle, this segment has seemingly exploded with potential buyers over the last couple of years.
Now Audi wants a piece of the pie and it already has an entrant. The company’s Q5 small SUV is already for sale in Europe and in a few other countries and makes a perfect companion to the larger Q7 in Audi’s U.S lineup.
The company has also expressed its desire to offer a hybrid version to compete with the upcoming hybrids in the market. Though the comapany’s first choice is its tried and tested diesel drivetrains, Audi’s board of directors seem to think that a hybrid is needed to show customers Audi can provide them with whatever they need.
Wolfgang Hatz, head of powertrain development for the Volkswagen group, said, "If you look at what you have to spend to get the advantage of the hybrid and what you have to spend on other technologies like diesel, the diesel is much more cost-effective. We have to do hybrids in order to show people that we are able to do them."
Europeans have been reaping the benefits of modern, clean, diesel technology for more than 20 years. As a company, it’s only fitting that Audi would rather allocate its R&D resources somewhere else. Still, it seems that the hybrid fad will be here for a few more years so Audi must reluctantly follow suit.
The Q5 will go on sale in the states in March. Pricing is still to be announced but a quick gander at competitors’ prices should give you a firm idea of the kind of cash you’re going to have to spend to get a hold of this particular Audi.
Photo: Audi AG