The new Q3 sets new standards in the premium SUV segment by introducing a compact version of its celebrated Q-line, setting its standards of Audi engineering in a compact SUV segment which has definitely an urbane character.
We were invited to its introduction last Friday in the building of Cameleon Woluwe, an eco-built shop which proved a fitting and ideal setting for this first showing...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Thomas de Mêuter, PR Manager of Audi Import, made a very interesting presentation of the new car, and also introduced us to the Audi balanced mobility project, notably the intriguing e-gas project. We will tell you soon more about this clever e-gas concept on our pages.
The representative of Cameleon showing the environment friendly building of the shopping center, a proper setting for the Q3 presentation...
But let us first tell you more about this Q3. It was shown to us in white livery, and the car looked coupé-like with a very flat-set rear window, emphasizing the sporty nature of the Audi Q3.
Thanks to systematic lightweight design, the basic version of the Audi Q3 weighs less than 1,500 kilograms (3,307 lb). Its engine hood and wraparound tailgate, which houses the taillights, are made of aluminum; the safe passenger compartment features a great many ultra-high-strength steels. It has a low drag coefficient of just 0.32, which also enhances fuel efficiency.
Stepping into the car, we found the interior quite roomy, and were pleased with the well known and exemplary standards of workmanship and very good ergonomics. Audi offers of course a wide selection of materials and colours, and we liked the beige leather found in the exhibit car. We just add that the luggage compartment offers 460 to 1,365 liters (16.24 to 48.2 cu ft) of capacity.
Customers can opt to supplement the standard specification with numerous options straight from the luxury class. Examples include adaptive light technology for the xenon plus headlights, which ideally illuminates the road ahead – even around corners. And an enhanced parking assistant alerts the driver to obstacles, even if they are off to the side.
Luxury class Infotainment
Audi offers an entire set of infotainment components, spearheaded by the large MMI navigation plus – a hard drive navigation system – and the Bose surround sound system, with handsomely illuminated woofers up front. In the near future, an online Bluetooth car phone will follow, paired with a WLAN hotspot to provide the Q3 with full Internet connectivity.
And a choice of efficient engines
The Q3 will roll off the assembly line with three different four-cylinder engines: one TDI and two TFSI units. All three will combine direct injection with turbocharging, and will feature not only an energy recovery system but also a start-stop system. With power outputs ranging from 103 kW (140 hp) (136 HP for the Belgian market) to 155 kW (211 hp), these engines will be as efficient as they are powerful. The basic version, the Q3 2.0TDI, is scheduled to appear a little later and – with 103 kW (140 hp) (136 hp for the Belgian market) and front-wheel drive – will average less than 5.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (45.23US mpg).
4-wheel drive and S tronic…
The most powerful gasoline engine and diesel engine, respectively, will be paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive and a seven-speed S tronic, which switches gears at lightning speed. And the S tronic features an innovation: during coasting, the dual-clutch transmission disengages the clutch and allows the Q3 to roll freely – provided that the driver has selected efficiency mode in the optional Audi drive select system. This measure also boosts fuel efficiency.
Select your driving style…
Drivers can use the four modes of Audi drive select to have various systems adjust to their individual driving style; these include engine management and the optional adaptive dampers. The chassis of the Q3 features a four-link rear suspension, electromechanical power steering, and robust wheel brakes. The hold assist function is an available option; down the road, the hill hold assist system will be made available.
Driving with noble sounds: Bose speakers can be installed in the Q3...
The Audi Q3 will go on sale in June. Its basic price in Germany– and Belgium- will be 29,900 euros.
We can hardly wait to gather some driving impressions of the car, but in the meantime, Katia Vandevelde will hand us over next week the keys of the 185 hp version of the A1, and we will soon tell you more about the road manners of this A1, which offers already tons of driving pleasure in more sedate versions…
Hans Knol ten Bensel