Audi introduced the redesigned Q3 last summer, but a mysterious prototype has been spotted undergoing testing in southern Europe.
While the prototype closely echoes the standard model, it features a charging port on the driver’s side front fender. The model also has an electrified vehicle warning sticker on the rear window.
Given this, the prototype could be equipped with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. That remains unconfirmed, but it wouldn’t be surprising as rumors have suggested the Q3 lineup would eventually expand to include an electrified variant.
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We haven’t heard much about the model, but it could have a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a small battery pack. This could enable the plug-in hybrid to have a combined output of 200+ hp (149+ kW / 203+ PS) and an electric-only range of up to 31 miles (50 km).
That’s significantly less power than the Q5 TFSI e which features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a 14.1 lithium-ion battery pack. That setup enables the crossover to produce 362 hp (270 kW /367 PS) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. This means the PHEV can run from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 5.3 seconds and travel more than 24.9 miles (40 km) on electricity alone.
There’s also the possibility that the prototype could be something else entirely. Rumors have suggested Audi could introduce an electric Q3 e-tron designed to appeal to the Chinese market. That model is rumored to have a 35.8 kWh lithium-ion battery and a range of up to 186 miles (299 km).
The prototype could also be a mule for upcoming Q4 e-tron. The model was previewed by a concept earlier this year and Audi has confirmed the production variant will be introduced in late 2020. However, it’s doubtful the prototype is the Q4 e-tron as the concept was based on the MEB platform while the Q3 rides on the MQB platform.
Picture credits: CarPix for Carscoops