Audi Q3 Vail Concept

Audi Q3 Vail Concept

Audi has been on a mission to topple German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz here in the U.S. for years, and if you've been following the company at all, you know it has been gaining ground steadily by crafting stylish, well-built machines that people want to drive. In fact, the Audi design department can seem to do no wrong; just about everything that emerges from it has been well-received, if not celebrated, for its sleek lines and sharp body lines. For the 2013 model year, expect much of the same, as highlighted by its offerings at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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2013 Audi S4

What is it? A sharpened-up S4, thanks to new headlight and taillight treatments, revised interior accents and other minor detail changes.

What's hot? The S4 has always been hot, but now it seems to have the edginess it has always needed. Gone is the anonymous, rounded front fascia of the previous car, replaced by a more angular, aggressive treatment.

What's not? You're kicking yourself if you just bought a current-model S4.

How much and when? Available with the rest of Audi's 2013 product line during the third quarter of this year, the S4 will start at around $47,000.

MSN Autos' verdict: If you were into the S4 before, you should definitely be into it now. It's a prettier version of the sedan that does it all — all-wheel drive, supercharged, luxurious, what's not to like?

Audi Q3 Vail Concept

What Is It? A specially equipped Q3 that's cooler than it is realistic.

What's hot? This crossover is about as cool as any compact SUV is ever going to be, and it's powered by a turbocharged inline-five engine. That means quattro GmbH heritage, and 314 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 62 mph happens in just 5.5 seconds. That's incredible.

What's not? The chances that we'll actually see a Q3 equipped with a 314-horsepower turbocharged inline-five are pretty slim, so this will be another one for the dreamers.

How much and when? We can say for sure that the Q3 is coming to the States in the third quarter of this year, but you'd be better off just getting the poster of this particular variant for your wall.

MSN Autos' verdict: It's awesome. Thanks to quattro all-wheel drive, you can take your trendiness to the top of the mountain and snowboard down. With running gear from the company's hot quattro GmbH team, you'll get there faster than ever, too. We say build it.

James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side as Senior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trend and European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.