Road Test : Audi Q3 2.0L TDI Quattro
Review by Tristan Tancredi - 12 September 2012
Recognising a rapid growth in the Compact SUV segment, Audi released the Q3 hoping to gain a slice of the ever increasing pie. From 2011 to 2012 alone, the growth of the compact SUV has gone through the roof so it makes perfect sense for Audi to release a compact SUV to sit alongside the Q5 and Q7.
The Q3 is available in the entry model 2.0L TDI 6-Speed Manual, the 2.0L TFSI 6-Speed Manual, the 2.0L TDI 7-Speed S Tronic and the 2.0L TFSI 7-Speed S Tronic.
We got our hands on the 2.0L TDI 7-Speed S Tronic for a week, let's take a closer look.
We were given the 2.0 litre TDI Q3 with 7 Speed S Tronic transmission and we gladly accepted. The high performance 7-Speed S Tronic transmission is as smooth as a newborns backside.
The 7-Speed S-Tronic transmission coasts through the gears seamlessly, so much so that most drivers will barely notice the gear changes. Right from the get go and the car feels responsive to the drivers commands. The fact that it reaches 0-100kmp/h in 8.2 seconds is proof of that.
Quattro in Italian means Four, yet we convinced a few mates of ours that Quattro means Smooth. (After a drive in the Q3, they weren't brave enough to disagree). Technically speaking however and Quattro translates in this sense to All Wheel Drive hence the Q3 2.0 TDI Quattro.
A feature of Audi's drive technology is "Audi Drive Select", this enables the driver to shift driving characteristics to adapt to the surroundings. For example, if coasting on the freeway, chuck Audi Drive Select into Efficiency and the clutch will disengage regardless of the gear to conserve fuel. On the other hand, click Audi Drive Select into Sport mode to increase the revs per gear change.
Electromechanical speed sensitive power steering allows a total sense of control on the drivers part. It must be said that the vehicle feels most at home on inner city or suburban roads, hence the "Urban" marketing ploy. In saying this, it still holds its own on country roads.
Flooring the pedal on freeways, or hitting sharp bends at pace, the Q3 always felt comfortable and responsive.
A 2 litre, 4 cylinder diesel engine powers the Audi Q3 2.0 TDI. This engine comes with direct injection and turbocharging.
The 7-Speed S-Tronic transmission for the diesel variant delivers higher power and torque output compared to the 6-Speed manual. Delivering maximum power of 130kW at 4200rpm and maximum torque of 380Nm at 1750-2500 rpm (6-Speed Manual: 103kW/320Nm).
Audis start/stop system, (despite being a nuisance and quite laggy at times) combined with "efficiency mode" in Audi Drive Select, limits fuel consumption to a highly respectable 5.9 litres per 100 kms.
Noticably smaller than its larger "Q" Family members the Q5 and the Q7, the Q3 has a distinguished urban feel about it.
It was discussed at length within the office whether this car was an SUV or a hatchback. It was established that the folk at Audi decided to combine the two and call it a compact class premium SUV.
Sport, coupe-like style lines run the length of the vehicle and will entice a younger following to the latest addition to the Audi Q range.
The front end demands a strong on road presence with an aggressive stance. The grille and trademark Audi design is dominated by vertical elements and the wedge shaped headlights.
17" alloys are standard, yet 18" alloys are an optional extra. The body is made mostly of high strength steel, which in turn, result in improved on-road performance and safety.
The Q3 measures in at 4385mm long, 1831mm wide and 1590mm tall.
The Audi Q3 comes with a 5 star safety rating.
The very moment you lower yourself into the drivers seat there is an overwhelming sense of security, reliability and comfort within the cabin of the Q3. The seating position and access to all mirrors is first class.
The interior features (climate control, radio, navigation, bluetooth) are all ridiculously user friendly and easy to manage. This results in less on road distractions and an improved safety score.
Safety features include: Airbags for Driver and Front Passenger, Side Airbags up front, Head Level Curtain Airbag and Electronic Stability Control with ABS, ASR and EDL.
Other notable features include: Hill Hold Assist, Rear Parking Assist and Parking System Plus with Rear Vision Camera (Approx $1,755 Extra).
Inside the Q3 and it's all class. Everything from the centre console with the 6.5" screen, to the soft trimmed stylish front dash, the leather steering wheel with controls and the leather ergonomical seating is modern and finished with the highest quality.
The leather seating is soft and delicate on the lower back and offers great support. There is sufficient space up front to lounge in comfort and those stuck in the backseats are not forgotten either with exceptional leg room.
As mentioned in the safety section. The interior infotainment is extremely user friendly in true Audi style. The turning dial makes changing the radio station or entering a destination in the MMI Navigation an absolute breeze.
A 10 speaker Audi Sound System is standard in the Q3, yet a step up in sound quality comes with a Bose Sound System at approximately $1,700 extra.
The Bose Sound System was installed in the Q3 we were given for a week and let me tell you: This System is Unreal! A crisp, clean noise pounds through the speakers at any decibel level. Flawless bass reverberates throughout the cabin and would please none other than Fatboy Slim himself. Hell, I put on a favourite R'n'B track from the mid 90's and it has never sounded better.
A cool effect of the Bose Sound System is the LED display on the side panels that adds to the overall charisma of the interior design.
A generous 460 litres of boot space is on offer. With the seats down however, this turns into 1,365 litres of space and easily accomodates a couple of golf club sets for a boys weekend.
The list goes on in an extensive options list.
The Audi Q3 is a generously equipped package that offers luxurious and premium qualities in a compact SUV.
Audi have targetted the Q3 to those in their 30's. "The Audi Q3 will naturally attract young professionals (30-39) who are successful in their chosen field, middle-aged couples and families who want an urban SUV that can be used for recreational activities, along with empty-nesters who lead an active lifestyle and want the versatility of a premium SUV".
Any of these target groups would be a perfect fit for the Q3. A car we can not speak higher of. Definitely check one out.
* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Audi dealer.
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