We all know that compact SUVs ar all the rage at the moment. But then there is always more. When this SUV comes out of the Audi stable, one can expect something special. And we were not disappointed, to say the least, when we sat for some time behind the four spoked wheel of a lavishly equipped Q3. It certainly did not steal its "Q" designation.
The Q3 proved to be the Quintessence of Modern Mobility and showed us how perfect this can be...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
We already told you in the last test how Audi has succeeded in putting its unique driving characteristics in each and every one of its models, and this Q3 makes no exception.
Precise handling, superb agility, enhanced here by the silky smooth but ultra responsive 1968 cc diesel engine, with a masterful 184 HP power display and equally impressive torque, this time spread out seamlessly over four wheels with quattro drive through the 7 speed dual clutch S tronic.
How effortlessly and swift this Q3 drives, picks up, accelerates, cruises, it has to be experienced to be believed.
Despite all its power, the Diesel engine remains, as said, very smooth, turns without any vibrations and is even almost inaudible when pulling in the mid and lower rev ranges. Needless to say that the Q3 is a refined Autobahn cruiser, with engine, road and wind roar virtually absent up to very high cruising speeds.
The Q3 remains also very stable through all this, necessitating hardly any steering corrections, if any. Straight line stability is indeed excellent, as is the precise handling through fast corners and winding (mountain) roads.
Indeed, we were able to take our test car through its paces in the French Massif Central, on the Col de Burzet, the stretch of mountain road from Aubenas over Juvinas to La Champ Raphael, with snow patches in the shadowy woods. This is a classic stage in the Monte Carlo Rally, and for good reasons...
On our road, we were stopped by the snow plough, because further up, the road remained closed to traffic, but needless to say we enjoyed the four wheel drive qualities of the Audi! The steering also transmits nicely the road surface, and it is a true delight to steer the Audi with verve through the bends, enjoying the neutral handling of the Q3.
State of the art S tronic...
A word of praise is proper here for the transmission. It operates utterly smooth, with lightning fast and very timely gearchanges. So timely, that we hardly needed to use the gearchange paddles on the steering wheel, to influence the box manually. This was only indicated when we were driving with speed and sporting abandon on the mountain stretches, where one likes to use the acceleration and braking power of the engine to the full.
Performance of this 184 HP Q3 is of course brilliant, with 0 to 100 acceleration time of 7,9 seconds, and a top speed of not less than 219 km. but again here, it must be stressed here that the true charm lies into the effortless way these impressive figures are achieved.
When driven with moderation, fuel consumption can rather easily come down to some 6,0 litres/100 km, and it is no effort at all to stay around 6,8 – 7 litres /100 km on average, which is very good indeed considering it is a 4 WD car with exhilarating performance.
Creature comfort in luxury...
Our Cortina white Audi Q3 test car was lavishly equipped indeed. It came with an Audi Design Selection package for the interior. This includes 18 inch alloy wheels with 5 spokes in so called "turbo" design, and 235/50 R18 tyres.
This package also includes the "Audi exclusive" badges on door sills, and leather covered steering wheel, with madras brown contrasting stitches.
The seats are also coloured in Madras brown, and executed in Nappa leather.
Our test car was further equipped with the "Adventure Plus" Pack, which included cruise control, acoustic parking distance warning system at the rear, SD card navigation, Audi Music Interface and Bluetooth.
We also liked the LED headlights, which have additional range lighting power at motorway speeds above 110 km/h.
These LED headlamps even prevent self-glare in foggy weather.
Creature comfort was even enhanced further with the so-called "Lounge" Pack, which included heated front seats and backrests, automatically reducing the heating power when the seats are sufficiently warmed up. An accessory not to be missed in winter time!
The MMI Navigation Plus package was also included, and this means one can enjoy a 7 inch display screen, voice command for the most important fuctions of radio, CD player and navigation. It also includes a 60 Gb hard disk, with a good 20 Gb reserved for music files. Of course, there are not less than 4 Bose speakers in front, and equally 4 Bose units at the rear. Concert room ambiance was guaranteed. We were also very impressed by the excellent sensitivity of the radio, which enabled us to enjoy crystal clear reception of France Musique classical music and jazz throughout Alpine mountain roads. But needless to say that Diana Krall sounded so sweet...
In the sunny weather during our test we appreciated the panoramic sunroof, of which the front part can be opened or tilted.
Last but not least, our test Audi was equipped with a rear camera and a park assist, which calculates through sensors the ideal parking steering motions. Parling was therefore a boon...
Quality and workmanship...
What makes this Audi - as any Audi - so endearing along with use is the craftsmanship and excellent build quality of this car. Not only the massive strength and stability of its platform and bodywork, but also the precise fit, touch and quality of the materials used, all this combined with the tasteful design of
knobs, dials and controls, seat contours, dashboard and door styling, just to mention a few. This translates also in the so typical Audi stylish elegance which few other cars can match.
This Q3 with its exhilarating engine, suspension, handling and impressive S tronic is a car with many qualities, and as a SUV and quattro layout an ideal companion on any road you may choose in your motoring life. It rewards you with its excellent finish, build quality and last but not least timeless styling.
All this enhances the pleasure of ownership, and indeed, the Q3 embodies totally the goal the creators and builders of Audi cars have set themselves: performing "Wertarbeit" or, freely translated, creating (lasting) value...
Hans Knol ten Bensel