Powerful 314PS five-cylinder engine and a winter sports emphasis for conceptual version of latest Audi SUV

  • Compact SUV with a winter sports theme among the Audi stand highlights at the NAIAS in Detroit (January 14-21 2012)
  • Striking styling including flared arches, running boards and winter sports-specific roof rails – themed interior includes induction chargeable lights, induction warmed drinks flasks and heated cushions inload floor mat with
  • Powerful 2.5-litre TFSI petrol engine linked to a seven-speed S tronic transmission delivers 314PS and 400Nm, giving a 5.5-second 0-62mph time and a 163mph top speedAudi Q3 Vail concept


A very special Audi Q3 concept groomed specifically for winter sports like the pistes in the famous Colorado mountain resort which inspired its name is unveiled today in Detroit. The Q3 Vail concept will share the limelight with the new generation Audi A4 at the North American International Automobile Show (January 14-22), and will combine striking, harder-edged styling with a suitably brawny 2.5-litre TFSI petrol engine delivering 314PS. 

Designed for young fans of winter sports who love skiing or snowboarding, the Audi Q3 Vail represents a new, potential variation on the compact SUV theme. The concept is painted in the colour developed specially for it – Energy Red – which contains golden pearlescent particles. Its add-on body parts are finished in matt grey quartz-based paint, and underline the vehicle’s robust and rugged character. The area around the windows is enhanced by eye-catching elements in aluminium and high-gloss black. 

Vertical bars made from aluminium are integrated in the single-frame grille. They extend across the full height of the grille. In the horizontal panel, which carries the license plate on production Q3 models, they are pulled outwards to striking effect. 

The struts feature a bi-colour theme developed specifically for the Q3 Vail: their lateral edges are painted in matt quartz-based paint, and the slim front faces have a high-gloss finish. 

In the headlights the zones in the lower area of the light-guide elements, which generate the daytime running lights, are painted anthracite. The side air inlets further emphasize the themed vehicle’s powerful appearance; their top areas are covered by solid aluminium panels. The underbody guard beneath the front end is also made from aluminium. 

Flared arches 

Eyecatching features on the flanks of the Q3 Vail include flared wheel arches and running boards, and on the roof the specially designed aluminum rails firmly hold carbon fibre skis and snowboards. The front roof-rail support integrates compact, energy-efficient, wide-angled LED lights that illuminate the area around the Audi Q3 Vail. They are controlled via buttons in the roof module. 

The Audi Q3 Vail is fitted with 255/45 section off-road tyres and 20-inch five-arm wheels whose visible edges have a high-gloss finish which mirrors the single-frame grille. Their inside areas feature the same matt quartz-based paint. Track width has increased by 40 millimetres at the front and rear compared to series production models, and the body is 30 millimetres higher. At the rear, the two tailpipes of the dual-branch exhaust system are integrated into the diffuser and underbody guard area. 

The interior of the Audi Q3 Vail has a fittingly sporty black, grey and red colour scheme. The headlining is made from titanium grey Alcantara; large parts of the interior, including the carpet, are black. The black, ribbed floor mats are edged with narrow strips of red velvet-finish leather. 

An innovative leather/fabric material is used for the upholstery – thin strips of leather just a few tenths of a millimetre wide, are interwoven with yarn. The upholstery features piping with double seams; like the contrasting stitching, the piping is red. Small sections of the upholstery are made from red velvet-finish leather – a hardwearing material that looks similar to nubuck leather at first glance, but in fact has a finer structure. The segments integrated in the door trims are also in red velvet-finish leather, trimmed in steel grey Fine Nappa leather. 

The entire instrument panel in the themed vehicle is trimmed in black Fine Nappa leather. Contrasting stitching in titanium grey is an elegant highlight. The leather across the hood of the instrument cluster is steel grey with red contrasting stitching. This colour scheme is replicated on the door armrests at the front and rear. The front section of the transmission tunnel also has a leather trim. 

The inlays around the S tronic selector level, at the front of the cockpit and in the doors comprise a three-dimensional stainless steel mesh that requires a complex manufacturing process. The selector lever features a high-gloss black ring and an aluminium badge with a milled “Q3 Vail” signature. The lever gaiter is enhanced by red stitching. 

Aluminium takes centre stage in the instrument cluster. The most striking elements are the metal dials around the speedometer and rev counter. They were made using a rotary-grinding process. Metal is also used on their rings and around the edges of the control lights. Horizontal bars and small fins give the dials and needle centres a sporty, three-dimensional look. The leather steering wheel features red contrasting stitching and an aluminium trim. Behind it are two large shift paddles for manually controlling the seven-speed S tronic transmission. The footrest and the pedals have thin pads made from rubber. Slits offer a glimpse of the stainless steel beneath the pads. 

Audi Q3 Vail concept

In some parts of the interior the trims are in high-gloss black – the display and control elements on top of them appear to float. This applies to the area surrounding the driver’s information system, the zone around the air vents, the periphery of the MMI terminal and the row of switches on the centre console. Aluminium inserts give the black switches an air of sophistication. Chrome trims adorn the controls of the air conditioning system; the air vents have black ribs and chrome-trimmed rotary knobs. 

The soft keys for the MMI navigation plus system are made from aluminium, while the control terminal benefits from narrow strips of the same material. The monitor, which can be folded out manually, has a trim that matches the surface of the instrument panel. The system includes an animation showing the longitudinal and latitudinal tilt angle of the Audi Q3 Vail. In regions that are not included in the map data, the MMI navigation plus system logs the GPS coordinates of the route – for assistance during the return journey. 

Induction charging and heating 

The interior of the Audi Q3 Vail includes two practical devices for winter sports fans. The side wall of the trunk houses a charging station. It can be used for storing flashlights and charging them inductively at the same time. The same technology is used for the Thermos bottle. It is located in the cup holder between the front seats and is able to chill or warm drinks. Both devices have LEDs that show the current charge level. One attractive extra is that, in addition to LED lighting, the flashlights incorporate an infra-red heating element that can be used for warming hands or ski boots. 

Another intelligent solution in the themed vehicle is the load floor mat, which has integrated heated seat cushions. The mat can be folded out and laid over the loading lip. This protects the trunk edge while the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded, and also provides a warm area to sit on when putting on or taking off your ski boots. Small LED spotlights on the inside of the tailgate provide light.

The Audi Q3 Vail features a 2.5-litre five-cylinder TFSI engine with direct injection and turbocharging that generates an output of 314PS and 400 Nm of torque from a displacement of 2,480 cc.

The engine’s five cylinders are consecutively numbered; red ‘wrinkled-finish’ paint has been applied to the cylinder head cover. A panel made from carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) partially covers the engine, and the air filter is also protected against dirt. There is a decorative trim made from plastic around the engine compartment. The acoustic mat on the inside of the bonnet has a “Q3 Vail” logo embroidered in dark grey. 

The power of the turbocharged five-cylinder unit is transferred to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system via a seven-speed S tronic transmission. The Audi Q3 Vail accelerates from zero to 62mph in 5.5 seconds and continues to a top speed of 163mph.