CAR recently reported how Audi is running out of Q badges, as Fiat’s Alfa Romeo owns the Q2 and Q4 nameplates, disrupting Ingolstadt’s plan to neatly order its soft-roaders from Q1 to Q9 with Teutonic logic.
Hence Audi’s next mid-sized sporting SUV was to be badged Q4, but the spat has encouraged a repositioning to spin off a TT crossover.
Why Audi’s Q4 has become the TTQ
‘We have no choice but to make a virtue out of necessity,’ explains a senior manager from Ingolstadt. ‘By taking the TTQ route, we avoid the confrontation with Fiat, we don’t overcrowd the Q corral, and we add a fresh twist to the TT theme.’
Audi has looked at three different ways of adding wellington boots to its TT sports car range, showing various concept cars over the past 18 months.
The Audi TT Allroad: rejected
The first proposal which received the internal thumbs-down was the TT Allroad shown in Detroit in 2014. Good-looking like almost every recent Audi design, the hatchback/shooting brake hybrid was deemed simply too cramped to be practical.
Moreover product planning argued that a proper shooting brake silhouette with a longer rear overhang would only be popular in Europe. An eventual thumbs-down from the board.
The Audi TT Sportback: another red light
September 2014’s Paris motor show spawned the TT Sportback, a notably more credible concept, and it too was beautifully proportioned, neatly detailed and sufficiently different from the genetically related A3 saloon. Despite these virtues, the five-door TT was never really in with a chance though, sources say. For a start, the compromised packaging is hampered by an impossibly tall loading lip, a quartet of bonsai doors, a distinct lack of rear headroom, difficult entry and exit, and not even enough space for children with the front seats pushed back. Not good.
Even though some of these vices could probably have been fixed, the 4470mm-long five-door compact would in all likelihood have cannibalised the notably more profitable 4710mm A5 Sportback. So the red show car was red-flagged even before it could set our hearts on fire.
The TT Offroad – and why it points to the new 2017 TTQ
Which leaves the TT Offroad concept car, a 4390mm crossover riding on the same 2630mm wheelbase as the TT and A3 Sportbacks. The sleek SUV incidentally also shares its footprint – if not its looks – with the Q3, another car spun from the ever-expanding MQB (modular transverse matrix) family. Why build two SUVs so close in size? Think of Audi’s duo as subtly different flavours, as BMW X4 is to X3.
The main reason the Offroad won the nod over the other TT crossover concepts is space. It offers enough rear head and knee clearance, along with a conveniently sized luggage deck. Crossover buyers want family friendliness and a command driving position, and the TTQ will deliver this, despite a roofline purportedly 60mm lower than a Q3’s.
Inside the TTQ
Usual TT fayre inside the coupe-crossover, we hear. Which is another way of saying that we can expect a classy finish, top-notch ergonomics, neat touches like the five trademark eyeball vents and Audi’s new virtual cockpit display.
With a bit of luck and with Signore Marchionne’s consent, Audi marketing chief Luca de Meo may by 2017 even be able to choose from two model designations for its new family member: TTQ and Q4. If the price is right, Fiat will surely be tempted to sell…
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