AUDI plans an all-out war on rivals BMW and Range Rover with the introduction of its new Q3 compact SUV, which goes on sale in the UK this month.
The brief was to come up with a vehicle which operated as well in the city as it did in the country, providing quality and efficiency for a starting price of £24,560. This is in direct competition to BMW’s X1 and Range Rover’s Evoque.
It is a sign of the times that Audi’s model range has grown from 17 to 38 models in just 10 years. In 2010 Audi recorded its best-ever worldwide sales – over a million and in the UK alone sold almost 100,000 cars. All this in an economic downturn.
There will initially be three different engines available – 2.0 TDI 177PS quattro S tronic, 2.0 TFSI 170PS quattro manual and 2.0 TFSI 211PS quattro S tronic. In December the 2.0 TDI 140PS FWD manual will arrive. There will also be two trim levels.
To my mind the Audi has the edge over its rivals in terms of design. It has a really neat, ultra-modern look and, of course, oozes Audi quality. The high seating position is popular these days although I’d have to say the legroom in the rear is somewhat limited if carrying two tall people in the front.
Top speed varies between 126 and 143mph while 0-62mph sprints can be made between 6.9 and 9.9 seconds, depending on which engine you choose.
Fuel consumption is also very good. Between 36.7 and 54.3mpg is quoted on the urban cycle.
The ride is very smooth and there are no rattles or squeaks from the quality cabin. All switchgear is easy to reach and operate and after a longish journey you step out of the car feeling as if you have been driving a bang up to date vehicle. It is both taught and positive.
I tried the 2.0 TFSI 170PS quattro SE and the 2.0 TDI 177PS quattro SE S tronic. I much preferred the latter although the starting price is around £3,000 more. The 7-speed auto box is just so smooth. Oh, and I loved the Samoa orange paint job.
Of course, the list of options is massive and in the case of the 2.0 TDI it was loaded with around £12,000 worth. It soon adds up when you start ticking the options boxes.
My feeling is this will be a popular choice in today’s marketplace. It does really feel at home both on urban streets and country lanes and I can see it being a good seller for Audi, which predicts 8,500 sales of the new model in its first year.