Q be nimble, Q be quick!

The Q factor, number three in the expanding Aud SUV family.

The Q factor, number three in the expanding Audi SUV family.

Welcome to the sunny side of being en tour

This specimen of mobility was presented to the press in Barcelona, Spain, and is the hitherto smallest Audi SUV: the Q3. Indeed, that was almost three years ago. Maybe it is because it is produced in Spain, in Martorell, that Audi focussed on advertising this model in a warm and positive colour which calls for attention, almost assigning it its very own “signature colour”, namely a specifically orange metal varnish. Mind you, they call it Samoaorange Metallic, which of course does not evoke a Spanish landscape at all, but rather  alludes to the tropical island of that name in the Pacific Ocean.

So why make this outrageously orangey colour an option for the Q3? Why make the SUV  share this colour with other Audi models like the A1 on the one hand and with no less than top-notch sportscars like the Audi TTS and R8 on the other? Does this unexpected combination of SUV and Samoaorange Metallic specifically appeal to the female sex? Is it a woman’s car? We do not know, and, to be honest, do not really care. What interests us more is the car’s overall performance. Usability, performance and economy, these are the decisive criteria which our 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic with 177 horsepower (130 kw) fulfils impressively well.

The Q-Factor

Once we had overcome our lurking aversion to the unmistakably characteristic sound of the diesel, we were pleasantly surprised by the nimbleness of the car and by how long one tank would last – in spite of it being the upgraded 2.0-litre diesel. Apparently the diesel sound of the same engine with 140 horsepower is even more prominent. The definite advantage of the diesel engine over the petrol engine remains its amazing quantity of torque (380Nm), which not only makes driving a most pleasant experience, but also gives the driver the satisfaction of quick overtaking procedures.

And, although the Q3 is a fairly solid and as such a “normal” car, wherever we drove or parked the car, it certainly stood out, due to the Samoaorange Metallic. “Disrupt to differentiate”, the motto we strive to pursue in our bloggosphere, encapsulates perfectly this specific Audi. And there will be further models with the Q-factor denoting SUV or crossover capabilities firmly implanted in their DNA. Which one is going to be next, the Q4, the Q6? Will there also be a Q1 and a Q2, possibly on the platform of the A1? The Q3 uses the platform of the A3 and the VW Golf, but otherwise bears no resemblance to the sedan or hatchback.

Every inch an Audi

The Q3 has lived up to our expectations, in spite of the Samoaorange Metallic version. We would certainly choose a different colour, not least as the Samoaorange costs an extra 546.22 Euro. Incidentally, the base price for the 2.0 TDI with 177 hp is 31,218.49 Euro (net). With all the extras from the options list we had on board, the Q3 would have amounted to  48,600.84 Euro (net) or 57,835.00 Euro including VAT. In other words, one should consider the options list very carefully.

The manufacturer’s claim: “The Audi Q3 is a premium SUV with the format of the compact class. It is sporty, efficient and versatile – an urban vehicle that is equally at home on or off the road. Every aspect of the Q3 showcases Audi technology.” We do go along with this description. New as far as technology is concerned is the fact that the Q3 has its four-cylinder engine mounted transversely, which enabled the designers to give it its compact shape. Needless to say, the SUV has Audi state-of-the-art infotainment and multimedia systems on board. We had the luxury MMI navigation plus system installed. It is easy to handle, and for the extra 2,289.92 Euro offers a wide array of useful features like a voice control system that understands 12 languages or up-to-the minute online traffic information.

World premiere in April 2011 in Shanghai.

World premiere in Shanghai in April 2011.

 

 

Hoch zu Roß im Deutschen Schmuddelwinter

Der Diesel mit 177 PS (130kW) lässt echten Fahrspaß aufkommen, vor allem in Handling und Ansprechverhalten. Die Freude kommt an der nächsten Tankstelle, denn der kleine On- und Offroader ist durchaus genügsam in seinem Durst nach Sprit. Trotz ausgiebigem Austesten der möglichen Höchstgeschwindigkeit von laut Tachonadel über 220 km/h lag unser Spritverbrauch bei durchschnittlich acht Liter auf 100 Kilometer. Der Sound im Sportmodus ist etwas bissiger, für unsere Ohren angenehmer, weil der Diesel in den Hintergrund tritt. Bei genügsamer Fahrweise reicht eine Tankfüllung (64 Liter) für gut 1000 Kilometer. Das Leergewicht fällt mit 1585 Kilogramm für ein Auto dieser Kategorie gering aus und ist ein weiterer Grund für den relativ geringen Spritverbrauch samt entspanntem Wohlgefühl im hohen Geschwindigkeitsbereich.

Der Q3 ist ein Audi durch und durch, in der Designsprache genauso wie im Fahrverhalten. Ein agil kompakter Alleskönner und bisher kleinstes und jüngstes Mitglied in der SUV Familie der Ingolstädter. Fazit: Es muss nicht immer ein RS sein, zumal die erhöhte Sitzposition zum Cruisen und Genießen der vorbeigleitenden Landschaft verleitet.

Susanne Roeder

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