Run Silent, Run Deep

The Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

Posted on August 5th, 2014 by Susanne Roeder & Ian Kuah


The most outstanding quality of Audi’s A3 e-tron Sportback plug-in hybrid that very quickly becomes apparent to a first time driver is how seamlessly the two disparate halves of its powertrain integrate in real world driving conditions.

Unlike a pure electric car, you hardly have to learn anything new to operate this petrol-electric hybrid, and what you do need to know can be conveyed in a matter of minutes when your dealer hands the car over.

Another positive aspect of the e-tron’s dynamic performance is the way it goes down the road. With springs and dampers uprated to cope with the e-tron’s 320kg of extra weight, its feels even more supple and mature in the way it tackles bumps than a normal A3. 


The 1.4 TFSI motor has 150hp and 250Nm of torque. The electric motor is rated at 101hp (75kW), with 330Nm of torque. However, as the power delivery curves are not additive, the total system power works out at 204hp, with a total system torque of 350Nm. The compact electric motor weighs 34kg and sits between the 100kg transversely-mounted internal combustion engine and the six-speed S-tronic gearbox with integrated drive de-coupler.

The presence of this de-coupling clutch is significant as one of the issues with electric and hybrid cars is the un-natural feeling of strong deceleration when you take your foot off the throttle.

This is caused by the strong braking effect of an electric motor when it is not delivering power. However, it turns out that coasting is a more efficient use of kinetic energy than brake recuperation, so this solution kills two birds with one stone.

The fact that an electric motor develops its peak torque at zero revs gives the e-tron very good low-end punch, and this is reflected in its 0-60km/h time of 4.9 sec. The 0-100km/h time of 7.6 sec is not quite hot hatch beating, but is more than adequate. Top speed in petrol mode is 222km/h, and you can run at up to 130km/h in e-mode, which corresponds to the highway speed limit in most European countries.

If performance is good, economy is outstanding, and Audi claim the A3 e-tron will do 1.5 L/100km or 188 mpg in old money, with emissions a paltry 35g/km. In real world driving on our test route, which included everything from the urban grind in Vienna to motorways, we saw an average of 4.3L/100km or 65.7mpg, which is still very impressive.


The e-tron’s ability to run in pure electric (EV) mode for 50km on a full charge means that for most people, the daily commute with zero emissions is taken care of. The fuel tank takes 40 litres, which is good for 650km. Using both power modes in tandem, the car has a potential range of up to 890km.

The 18 km drive from Vienna airport to our hotel was well within the A3 e-tron’s EV range, and it was actually very pleasant to cover this distance with a total lack of mechanical noise and vibration.

While you can certainly hear the stereo better at a lower volume, this also implies that a base car with low chassis rolling noise is desirable. Thankfully the A3 also delivers in this respect.

Our test cars were pre-production examples, and while there will be some further software updates before the A3 e-tron goes on sale in the late summer, the cars we drove are by and large what a paying customer can expect.

The standard Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Sportback weighs 1,230kg. With its battery pack and other hybrid componentry, the e-tron tips the scales at 1,540kg (DIN), and its 57/43% weight distribution makes the e-tron slightly less nose heavy than the 60/40% of an A3 TDI. Its electric power steering has a nice weighting for easy low speed manoeuvring, with a ratio that also made easy work of the mountain roads in the hills above Vienna.

The fact that the 125kg, 8.8 kWh Lithium Ion battery sits right down low on the floor just in front of the rear axle is of huge benefit to the handling balance of a normally nose-heavy front-wheel-drive hatchback.

Shod with grippy 225/45R17 tyres, the e-tron exhibited less understeer in bends, and less perceived weight transfer under acceleration and braking than a normal A3.

Another advantage of placing the battery pack in this position is realised in luggage carry ability, which remains unchanged from the 280-litres of an A3 quattro, expanding to 1,120-litres with the rear seats folded flat.

The floorpan is derived from the A3 quattro, with some new sheet metal in strategic places like the battery storage compartment. The centre tunnel of the quattro floorpan is required for mechanical packaging reasons, since the area where the propeller shaft and exhaust system are normally found now contains a long, triangular-section centre silencer.


From A1 to A8, consistently good build quality is an Audi strong suit, and the A3 impresses from the moment you open a door and step inside. The class leading fit and finish of its cabin sets the class benchmark, giving the impression that this compact Audi is a smaller rather than a cheaper version of their larger models. 


In the cabin, everything is exactly as you would find it in a normal A3 apart from the instrument cluster where a power meter replaces the rev counter. This indicates Charge, Efficiency, and Power Boost from the batteries. In energy recuperation mode, coasting and braking both send power to the batteries.

The familiar pop-up MMI screen on the dashboard has the usual items like sat-nav, but an extra function controlled from a button on the dashboard allows the driver to choose the running mode for the vehicle.

The first of these is EV (Electric Drive) where the e-tron runs in purely electric mode, drawing power from the batteries, as I tested on the drive from the airport to the hotel. The car’s default mode on start up is EV unless the battery is depleted.


The second mode is Hybrid Auto. In this setting, the computer decides when to run the petrol or electric motors or both for optimum efficiency. So if the batteries are getting low, the internal combustion motor will cut in to charge the batteries until they are at the point where efficient running on electric power is feasible again.

In Hybrid Hold mode, the aim is to retain battery charge, so the computer will do its utmost to use the petrol motor and coasting and braking to charge the batteries to be used later. The final mode is Hybrid Charge, where the system will try to increase the battery charge as much as possible using extra regenerative braking and the petrol engine as a generator.

If the car is running on battery power initially in very cold weather there is the issue of engine wear on the internal combustion engine if it is suddenly engaged in kick down when stone cold. Because of this, special piston rings and cylinder liners are used, and a sensor monitors oil quality.


The A3 e-tron Sportback has three independent cooling systems. The first is the normal water-cooling system for the internal combustion motor. The second is the water-cooled charge-air intercooler for the forced aspiration component of this motor.

Last but not least is the cooling system for the batteries and power electronics. This uses the heat exchange component of the vehicles air-conditioning to maintain the batteries within their rated operating temperature envelope.

That means the a/c system is always on, which is an advantage as most people are not aware of the fact that switching off the a/c in winter is bad since the small amount of lubricating oil circulating with the coolant gas keeps the rubber seals in the system from drying out. Also, as air-conditioning extracts humidity form the air, it keeps your windows clear when it is cold and damp or raining.


An A3 e-tron App for smart phone junkies allows you to access your travel data information like average fuel consumption, distance and driving time. It also tells you your battery charge status and range.


And when the car is connected to the mains charger, you can programme the air-conditioning to pre-heat or pre-cool the car’s interior, so you do not have to draw power from the battery for this task once you are driving. Mains charging time is 3 hours 45 min on a normal household supply, dropping to 2 hrs 15 min if you have a 16 Amp socket.

The Audi A3 e-tron goes on sale in Europe this summer, and in China in 2015. Audi will offer an A6 e-tron LWB in China in 2016, as a joint-venture project using many locally sourced components, and Q7 e-tron will follow.


At 37,900-euro (in Germany) Audi A3 e-tron Sportback goes head-to-head with the likes of the Toyota Prius plug-in Hybrid, which it decisively outpoints on driving dynamics, prestige and build quality. It is as large a car as most people need for their daily commute, and is a real pleasure to drive.

- the end -

Trio For Success

Porsche Development Centre Expansion

Weissach, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, is world famous as the seat of Porsche motorsport, as well as the heart of the research and development effort that feeds Porsche’s Zuffenhausen and Leipzig factories.

However, this Porsche think tank, which also does development work for other OEs, was definitely in need of an upgrade to return its capabilities to a true cutting edge level for the next lap.

Work began last year, and the new facilities, comprising a design studio, state-of-the-art wind tunnel, and Electronics Integration Centre were officially opened yesterday, 18th July 2014.

LKZ wirtschaft 19Juli2014_smaller



Like A House On Fire …


The new T-model of the C-class.

The new T-model of the C-class.                         photo: Ian Kuah

The C-Class T-Model and Globaliter Media

really got on

The C-class is the latest star in the firmament of Mercedes-Benz’ mid-sized model range. We much prefer it to the E-class; it is sportier, handles well and leaves the impression of a compact S-class.

The T-model in particular caught our attention, and did not disappoint. It is a truly accomplished and practical everyday car with wide-ranging talents. Well almost. We are already looking forward to the launch of the six-cylinder and AMG versions that will surely unlock the full potential of this brilliant car.

So here is our review in German:

Außen hui, innen huiuiui

Appealing to drivers of all ages. Fresh on the outside, very S-class inside.

Appealing to drivers of all ages. Fresh on the outside, very S-class inside.  (photo: Ian Kuah)

Raumschiff T-Modell der C-Klasse: Mission Lifestyle macht aus dem Lastesel ein Lustauto

Sie ist Anfang dreißig, hat zwei kleine Kinder und einen anspruchsvollen Geschmack: „Ich muss Kinderwagen, Fahrräder und anderes Familienzubehör transportieren, lege aber Wert auf ein schickes Auto. Das neue T-Modell ist für mich perfekt.“ Aussagen wie diese sind für den Hersteller Musik.. Schließlich will Mercedes-Benz die junge Generation für das neue T-Modell der C-Klasse gewinnen, ohne die ältere Stammkundschaft zu verschrecken durch all zu viel Neues und Ungewohntes. Mit dem neuen „Transport und Touristik“-Modell, so die Bedeutung des Kürzels „T“, könnte dieser Spagat durchaus gelingen. Im September ist Verkaufsstart.


Traversing the Rhine.

Traversing the Rhine.                                                                         (photo: Roeder)

Zu Lande, aber auch zu Wasser, nämlich beim Übersetzen über den Rhein mit der Fähre, gab der neue T-Faktor bei Mercedes in seiner äußeren Erscheinung ein schnittiges, sportliches Bild ab. Zumal bei Kaiserwetter rund um Weinberge und Weindörfer in Hessen und in Rheinland-Pfalz. An Funktionalität als Lastesel zugunsten von erhöhtem Flair als Lustauto hat das Nachfolgemodell null eingebüßt. Ganz im Gegenteil. Wie ein Sesam-öffne-dich geht die Heckklappe per Fußbewegung unter dem hinteren Stoßfänger ohne irgendeine Berührung auf. Wer beide Hände voll hat, weiß diese Annehmlichkeit namens „Hands-Free Access“ zu schätzen.

Load me, if you can. The T-model can take up to 1,510 litres.

Load me, if you can. The T-model can take up to 1,510 litres.      (photo: Ian Kuah)

4,70 Meter lang, 2,02 Meter breit, 1,44 Meter hoch. Die neue Generation ist um 9 Zentimeter in die Länge geschossen. Und hat dennoch abgespeckt, und zwar intelligent und nachhaltig um rund 65 Kilogramm. Das Ergebnis sind bis zu 20 Prozent weniger Spritverbrauch und mehr Sportlichkeit. Der ebene Laderaum hat zugelegt, misst jetzt 490 bis maximal 1.510 Liter und ist somit der größte seines Segments. Dabei lässt sich die Rückbank in praktischer 40:20:40 Aufteilung elektrisch umklappen. Auch die Ablagen im Innenraum sind deutlich größer geworden. Kurzum: Mercedes-Benz verspricht mit seinem Neuen ein Mehr an allem. Besonders im Innern der zwei C-Modelle kommen Luxusgefühle auf. Das ist S-Klasse in der Mittelklasse. Und die hat auch komplexe Systeme, die teilautonomes Fahren genauso ermöglichen wie das Einleiten einer Teilbremsung bei bis zu 200 Stundenkilometern.

Ready for travelling anywhere. C-class T-model.

Ready for travelling anywhere. C-class T-model.

In vielem, wie Cockpit und Motoren, gleichen sich die nicht eineiigen Zwillinge Limousine und T-Modell. Vieles ist aber auch anders. Und da hat bei „Mercedes connect me“ der jüngste Zuwachs in der Sternfamilie die Nase derzeit vorn – als bestvernetzter Pkw im Konzern. Ein weiterer Beleg dafür, wie rasant das „Internet der Dinge“ voranschreitet. Das bedeutet auch, dass die S-Klasse nicht mehr alleiniger Innovationstreiber und -träger ist.

Bisher gibt es die C-Modelle nur als Vierzylinder und da mehr Diesel, nämlich anfangs fünf, vom C 180 BlueTec mit 116 PS, bis zum C 300 BlueTec Hybrid (204 plus 27 PS). Ab Dezember kommt der Benziner auch als Sechszylinder auf den Markt, und zwar als C 400 4Matic mit 333 PS (245 kW, 480 Nm). Anders beim Diesel. Dort übernimmt die Rolle des Sechszylinders nächstes Jahr der C 300 Bluetec Hybrid (204 PS plus 27 PS vom Elektromotor). Beim Ottomotor wird später noch ein Plug-in Hyrid folgen (211 PS plus 68 PS Elektromotor).

Especially the 6-cylinder petrol version will show other cars its rear.

Especially the 6-cylinder petrol version will show other cars its rear.  (photo: Ian Kuah)

Der Einstiegspreis für das beliebte Modell, das die Deutschen der Limousine deutlich vorziehen, liegt bei rund 35.000 Euro. Mehr als 400.000 T-Modelle der C-Klasse wurden seit Ende 2007 verkauft. Allein im vergangenen Jahr waren es fast 50.000 Fahrzeuge. Mit seinem Kürzel trägt der „T“ zwar keinen so spektakulären Namen wie der Shooting Brake von Mercedes-Benz, also der Kombi des CLS. Gut möglich aber, dass er zum Shooting Star aufsteigt und somit ein wichtiger Fixstern im Mittelklasse-Segment von Mercedes-Benz bleibt, weil er alle Altersklassen für sich gewinnen kann.

Susanne Roeder


The Deidesheim vineyard has taste. G-class is just it.

The Deidesheim vineyard has taste. G-class is just it.                 (pboto: Roeder)

Go e-tron, Go, Go, Go

What more does one need than approximately 940 kilometres of range, out of which 50 can be covered purely electric, and 205 horsepower? Six cylinders, I would say. Okay, this is missing the sustainable point of the engineering effort. And it is technically impossible, as it will not fit onto the platform of the car. But it is not missing the emotional fun point.

So here is our plea to you aspiring engineers: As a compromise, why not use the award-winning 5-cylinder turbo motor which will fit this platform? What is more, this engine is the direct descendant of the legendary ur-quattro 5-cylinder with its charismatic warbling soundtrack.

Okay, adjustments need to be made here and there to make the impossible possible. In other words: Please, find a way to overcome the problem with the 5-cylinder engine being too powerful for front-wheel-drive.

Dear engineers, you as the masters of magic: Cannot you find a way to make it this work? You know, we car addicts would like to have our cake and eat it. This is poetic licence, I know. But as a poet who can twist my words, cannot you twist your technology? And make this your first ur-quattro-e-tron? Nice thought, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, here is what Rupert Stadler, CEO of AUDI AG, has to say about the company’s electrifying future …

Volle Ladung in die Zukunft

Audi Vorstandschef Rupert Stadler erläutert die Mobilitätsstrategie des Konzerns

Von Susanne Roeder

Wien – Auch Audi fährt jetzt elektrisch, nicht vollelektrisch sondern hybrid, mit der Kraft der zwei Herzen. Auf der Rennstrecke schon seit etlichen Jahren, im Straßenverkehr ab sofort. Als erstes Hybrid-Modell ist ab Sommer der Audi A3 e-tron bestellbar, in Deutschland zum Einstiegspreis von 37.900 Euro. Drei Aggregate bilden den Antriebsstrang des A3 Sportback e-tron: ein Vierzylinder TFSI Motor, eine E-Maschine und ein neu entwickeltes Sechsgang-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe.

Die Ingolstädter haben das Fahrzeug als effizientes Fortbewegungsmittel für den Alltag entwickelt. Rein elektrisch bewältigt der an der Steckdose aufladbare Plug-in Hybrid 50 Kilometer. Dahinter steckt die Erkenntnis, dass die Deutschen allgemein und auch Berufstätige im Durchschnitt maximal 40 bis 60 Kilometer pro Tag zurücklegen.

Ein gut gelaunter Rupert Stadler, der für Audi mit effizienter Hybridtechnologie an Bord bei den 24-Stunden Klassikern Le Mans und Nürburgring auf zwei prestigeträchtige Rennsiege hintereinander blicken kann, erläuterte, warum die Ingolstädter erst jetzt ein Modell mit kleinem Elektromotor anbietet. „Ich glaube einfach, dass der Kunde es honorieren wird, ein Auto zu bekommen, bei dem er auf nichts verzichten muss. Er kriegt hier ein tolles dynamisches Auto.“ Man habe hier die gesamte Entwicklungserfahrung hineingebracht. In der Tat ist das Fahrzeug derart ausgereift, dass es absolut unmerklich von einem Fahrmodus in den andern wechselt. Mit seinem „Doppelherz“ (Verbrenner und Elektroantrieb) als Motorisierung erfüllt der A3 die Anforderungen an eine Mobilität ohne Einschränkungen: Er kann bei Bedarf emissionsfrei fahren, bietet aber eine Reichweite von insgesamt mehr als 900 Kilometern. Reichweitenangst kommt gar nicht erst auf. Genauso wenig die Gefahr, nicht genügend elektrische Energie gebunkert zu haben, um in eine emissionsfreie Zone wie die Großstadt London kostenfrei fahren zu können. Denn mit einer der vier wählbaren Modi, dem „hybrid hold“, kann der Energiestatus in der Batterie für später gespeichert werden, wenn eine solche Stadtfahrt ansteht. Die Stellung „charge“, also Ladestellung, dient dazu, die Batterie beim Fahren möglichst schnell aufzuladen, S für S tronic erlaubt einen Boostvorgang, also das Abrufen von Energie zum Beschleunigen, die Position „auto“ schließlich nutzt die elektrische Energie im Zusammenspiel mit dem Verbrennungsmotor optimal und gewährleistet wenig Kraftstoffverbrauch auch auf längeren Fahrstrecken.

„Wir wollen das Segment der Plug-in Hybride auffüllen und als Hersteller auch anführen“, lautet Stadlers selbstbewusste Ansage. Und speziell zum A3 e-tron, einem Brot-und-Butter Auto für Audi: „Der A3 hat aufgrund seines stabilen Restwertes einen guten Wiederverkaufswert.“ Der Vorstandsvorsitzende ist deshalb überzeugt, mit diesem Auto eine „sehr gute Welle“ anzustoßen.

„Wir sind mit einer sehr offenen Attitüde an die e-Mobilität rangegangen“, erzählt Stadler. Jedes Jahr soll jetzt ein weiteres Modell als e-tron die Audi Hybridfamilie bilden. Als nächster kommt im Jahr 2015 das größte SUV, der Audi Q7, auf den Markt. Danach läuft speziell für den chinesischen und für Audi wichtigsten Markt der A6 Langversion e-tron vom Band. Die Palette wird bis zum A8 als Plug in Hybrid reichen. Im Premiumbereich gehe es um intelligente Modelle. Im gleichen Atemzug bekräftigte Stadler die Gewinnmarge bei Audi von acht bis zehn Prozent. Damit lägen die vier Ringe man bei den Massenherstellern weiterhin an der Spitze.

Und ein rein elektrischer Audi? „Das BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) wird bei uns in der zweiten Phase der Elektrifizierung kommen.“ Wann genau das sein wird, da hüllt sich der Vorstandsvorsitzende außer dem Hinweis auf „dann, wenn es passt und Sinn macht“ schmunzelnd in Schweigen.





Fresh, Young and Cheeky: HYUNDAI

Hyundai's smallest family member, the cute and surprisingly solid i 10.

Hyundai’s smallest family member, the cute and surprisingly solid i 10.

So Cute … you almost want to cuddle it

It has been a bestseller right from the start, Hyundai’s cheeky little i 10. It is solid, it is well-made, it is stylish and it has features that one does not usually expect to find in the A segment. In a word, it is fun to drive, definitely as a four-cylinder with 87 PS. Even its sound sounds okay. We have heard worse in bigger engines.

“Do schebbert nix. Wie machetd die des?” This is Swabian for: “Nothing clatters, How do they do it?” – words forever famous since they were first uttered by the somewhat flabberghasted VW boss Martin Winderkorn when closely inspecting the i 30 during IAA in Frankfurt. Although spoken almoust four year ago these words have become a classic and are still ringing in our ears. And just as Winterkorn must have felt surprised at the quality of the Korean cars, the little i 10 won us iover with its cuteness and solid stance.

We took pleasure in driving the agile 3.67 meter long five-door Hyundai in beautiful Rheingau. What more does one need for the town? Agreed we still prefer the version with more horsepower (87 hp, 64 kW) to the three-cylinder i 10 (67 hp, 48.5 kw). And in spite of its belonging to the A segment the i 10 has features from the B and C segment, like a heated steering wheel and automatic air conditioning. The 3-cylinder can also be had with liquid gas. The i 10 starts at 9.950 Euro. It can be ordered in three different styles (Classic, Trend, Style).

Successful hatching of the Hyundai brand.

Successful hatching of the Hyundai brand.

There is no doubt, Hyundai has left behind its status as ugly duckling. Who would have thought that the ugly duckling Atos from 1997 would evolve into a swan in the shape of Instead, it has become a very successful brand of its own competing with the “establishment”. The OEM does a lot to be present in the media, where it pursues its appearance as a young and somewhat freaky brand. Hyundai is therefore actively involved in social media like Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. One extremely successful example has been the little Hyundai video that in ten minutes quoted no less than 70 blockbuster films. Within two weeks the video had almost 250,500 clicks on YouTube.

Today the once sneered at car manufacturer has ten model ranges with fifteen derivatives, all of which sell well. From the small i 10 to the Grand Santa Fe, from conventional to latest technology like LPG and fuel cell, Hyundai has it all. With Thomas Bürkle and Peer Schreyer the Koreans have two renowned designers to rely on for a fresh and imaginative design.

Hyundai’s worldwide success stems from a bundle of factors such as design, a convincing value for money ratio, reliability, five years guarantee irrespective of the mileage. Speed is another one of Hyundai’s codes of success. The developing time for a new model has been cut in half from 48 down to 24 months. And it is to be further shortened, down to 14 months.

How better to catch emotions than with football. To further broadcast the brand, Hyundai is acting as main sponsor of FIFA and UEFA football events. During the last European Football Championship the OEM managed to raise its brand awareness from 29 to 49 per cent. Apart from acting as sponsor Hyundai actively takes part in motorsports. Thus, the Koreans will soon start during the 24 hours on the Nürburgring. The car manufacturer opened its testing ground next to the race track. Which goes to show that motorsports is a great help when it comes to developing reliable street cars that carry future technologies.

Susanne Roeder



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


Opel Meriva: Second Generation Rejuvenated

The engine is the heart of a car. With the new generation 1.6 CDTI Opel has managed to present the quietest and most efficient diesel engine in its class. We were able to testdrive the advanced technology in the facelifted second generation Opel Meriva, a few days before its introduction to German car dealers. Impressed by the nifty and easy-to-drive little van, we feel certain this car will appeal to drivers of all ages, be it singles, young families or elderly couples.

Since its launch in 2010 about 400.000 Meriva B have been sold in total, approximately a quarter of them in Germany. After its debut in the Zafira Tourer, the Meriva is the second model to benefit from the 1.6 diesel engine replacing the 1.7 diesel as substantially reworked engine with low friction transmissions which offer better efficiency and much more precise and smooth shift operation. The German car manufacturer has invested more than 50 million Euro into the optimisation of its five- and six-speed gearboxes.

Merivadiesel_smallRegarding its outer appearance the Meriva has been inconspicuously rejuvenated, most notably using chrome elements, as in the newly designed front grille and the elegant chrome waistline. The new front and fog lamps with energy saving LED daytime running lights and LED rear lamps give the Meriva a perky and more determined look.

And as far as infotainment is concerned, with IntelliLink Opel offers all the latest technology. Infotainment nowadays seems to bank on the driver’s individual smartphone. Thus, the new Meriva boasts of seamless smartphone integration into the vehicle. We can well do, drive and live without this feature. But, together with a further wide range of premium functions provided by IntelliLink, this seems to be a definite selling point.

Whispering Engines

We on the other hand focused on the driving experience. Thus, the 1.6 diesel engine ( we drove the version with 136 hp/100 kW, 320Nm torwze, 4.4 l/100km and  116g/km CO2) can be warmly recommended. Compared to its predecessor, the 1.7 CDTI, there is a plus of 6hp and 20 Nm, while efficiency is improved by 10% as regards fuel consumption and emission of CO2. During the course of the year, a further version of the 1.6 CDTI with 110 hp/ 81 kW will emit no more than 99 grams of CO2 and consume a mere 3.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres, making the Meriva the first (diesel) monocab under 100g.

As to the interior, the Meriva oozes pureness and solid quality. Of course, the patented FlexDoor system has remained a salient component of the Meriva’s ergonomic concept. While the usual opening angle of doors is 68 degrees, Meriva’s 84-degree opening doors in front and rear allow easy access. Yet the most spectacular feature of the FlexDoors system are the highly ergonomic rear-hinged rear doors which give comfortable access to the rear. The engineers are proud of their flexibility and ergonomic champion – a title first bestowed upon the Meriva in 2010, when the second generation was launched.

The price for the Meriva 1.6 CDTI in Germany starts with 23,350 Euro as “Edition”, 24,790 Euro as “Color Edition” and  24,890 Euro as “Innovation”. The entry price for the smallest petrol engine (100 hp/74 kW) is 15,990 Euro (prices include VAT). All engines, be it gasoline, LPG or whisper-diesel 1.6 CDTI, already comply with Euro 6 emission standards.

Summary / Zusammenfassung

Frischzellenkur für Opels Minivan Meriva. Natürliche Schönheit kommt von innen. Deshalb ist der 1,6 Liter Dieselmotor, der nach dem Zafira Tourer nun auch im Meriva geräuscharm werkelt, die wichtigste Neuerung beim Facelift der zweiten Generation Meriva. Unverändert attraktiv bleiben die hinten angeschlagenen Fondtüren als auffallendstes Merkmal des patentierten FlexDoors Türsystems. Opel hat den Meriva konsequent weiter verbessert und seinen Status als pfiffiges Alltagsauto für alle Altersklassen weiter ausgebaut.

Susanne Roeder


Aquam e Pumice postulare

Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel: “Eine Maut wird es mit mir nicht geben.”

Already forgotten?

Matthias Wissmann: What about it?

Politics in Brussels: Only eating Brussel sprouts?

So this is the latest addition. 8 points is not the issue. But the money one has to pay. And who decides on what road what speed is permitted? Whereas on some long and winding roads it is only possible for the advanced driver to reach the allowed 100km/h, on other totally straight roads it is 60km/h – where the speed limit used to be 100km/h. Just one example.

Änderung des Bußgeldkatalogs

So, again, cash cow car driver. All the other countries, yes, they do have a Maut System of some sort. However, the Germans already pay incredible taxes for petrol (75 %). And e-mobility is heavily sponsored, and still intolerably expensive, simply because the well-to-wheel balance does not work.

Frau Merkel, you once studied physics, did you not? So where is the logic in this? Or are you swaying opportunistically in the wind as you have almost always done?

Source: Mobil in Deutschland e.V.


About a Little Boy

Pylonen… with bees … in his bottom !

There once was a little boy, one of three children. His father was a carpenter and did some construction work to the house of a friend of ours. Noticing our friend’s trophies, the man  asked: “So, you are into racing?” – “Yes,” was the answer. – “I can show you something, in case you are interested.” He sure enough was.

… A True Story

So one day Harry joined the family on a little track. What our friend was to see took his breath away: a little kid aged four racing through pylons at unfathomable speed. He was dead afraid this child might hit a lamp post. But no. At the age of four and contrary to what traffic experts will  have to say, this child had imbibed the movements of a perfect racing driver. He was no other than Sebastian Vettel from Heppenheim, a little place in Germany.

Older kid with need for speed.

Older kid with need for speed.

Many do not really like him. One wonders why.

The chap is just soooo fast as to make F1 boring, some say. And, yes, we all know that he should change the team at some stage. But maybe Red Bull are now asking him to pass on his racing excellence to his  new team mate and then release him to move to another team. Who knows. Lots of speculations, lots of rumours. As always when someone is doing outstandingly well. This excellence, we are convinced, Eddie Irvine would have to acknowledge, even though according to Motorsport total Irvine claims Michael Schumacher was the better driver. Really?

The team Red Bull allegedly does everything pro Seb. Is that so?

Well, it has to be said that Sebastian had the guts to disagree with Team Order. Not bad for a  hero, one is inclined to intonate. Nico Rosberg, on the other hand, in the same race followed Mercedes Team Order. Should that be better? Alternatively, is it better that for Ferrari Alonso quite ostensibly was the Number 1 driver, Felippe having to huddle behind like a little slave?

What are the rules of F 1? Does not each team try to outdo the other? One should not forget that Vettel’s now ex-team mate Mark Webber caused quite a number of crashes. And whether or not Mark Webber left due to Seb is ultimately immaterial. He was given a brilliant chance to drive for Red Bull. Quite ostensibly, he had passed his prime in F1 and is now given another formidable chance, namely LMP1 with Porsche. Now that cannot be bad! Webber himself sees it that way.

There has to be a space for whizz kids who quite simply outdo others in their field. And Sebastian undoubtedly is one of them, just like outstandingly speedy Lewis – even though, sadly, Lewis has somewhat lost track with his involvement in soapy glitz world. And, hey F 1 fans: Don’t be unfair. Hey commentators and ex-F 1 drivers:  Try not to be envious but acknowledge their capabilites. Sebastian is an elitist first-class driver, and has deserved all the respect for his incredible performance. Full stop.

Susanne Roeder


PS: Horrified to hear of Michael’s terrible skiing accident.