Audi has lifted the lid on its Q3 Vail concept, a hotted-up version of the Q3 crossover that the German company hopes will stir up Amercian interest in the Volkswagen Tiguan-based CUV.
It also, in Audi's own words, "represents a new, potential variation on the SUV concept", boasting wider body cladding for a tougher image, blacked-out headlamps, a 40mm wider track width and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The Vail concept is also powered by a turbocharged and direct-injected 2.5 litre inline five, producing a stout 231kW and 400Nm.
The Q3's standard quattro AWD drivetrain is retained, and power is routed through a seven-speed S tronic automatic. Performance is brisk for a compact SUV, with the zero to 100km/h sprint done away with in just 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 262km/h.
Styled to appeal to well-heeled ski enthusiasts, the Vail (named after a famous ski resort in Colorado) is equipped with features like a heated boot carpet, inductive heaters in the front cupholders, a charging station in the boot for flashlights and integrated roof rails.
Its cabin is also outfitted with woven leather upholstery, an Alcantara headliner, a leather-trimmed dashboard plus aluminium and stainless steel trim pieces.
At this stage there's no certainty that the Q3 Vail will find its way into production, but its wider track width and powerful inline-five suggest it would be a strong candidate for a Q3 RS version.
For now though, the Q3 Vail will be used by Audi to gauge the American public's reaction to its smallest SUV variant as a prelude to Q3 exports to North America.