Yesterday evening saw the launch of Audi’s compact SUV – the Q3, in Malaysia. The Q3 is the third and smallest SUV in the Audi line-up, sitting below its Q5 and Q7 bigger brothers. Audi says that the Q3 is an evolution of the classic SUV that combines the strengths of an SUV with advanced driving dynamics and efficiency. Only one engine variant is available – 2.0 TFSI, the 2.0-litre four-pot turbo that produces 170hp/280Nm and is mated to a 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch auto-box. These power figures are good for a Zerotohundred sprint of 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 212km/h.
Whilst opinion can be divided on the looks of the Q3, one thing is for sure – the design is signature Audi. On the outside, you get xenons with integrated DRLs, along with LED taillights on the rear. Audi designers had an uphill task of creating something that was distinctly within the Q-series family, but yet had a sporty, muscular, and coupe like look; which explains the rearward sloping roof-line, its forward leaning silhouette, and a wider C-pillar that helps to give the Q3 a lower, flatter stance. Audi says that this car has a drag coefficient of just 0.32, setting a new benchmark in its class.
As can be expected, the Audi Q3 comes with quattro all-wheel drive. First introduced in a production car way back in 1980, Audi’s quattro has been thoroughly tried, tested, enhanced and evolved over the years. In normal day-to-day use, this system is mostly forward biased, but in times where you need it, power can be transferred automatically to each wheel. In a nutshell, this equals superior handling, and impressive grip levels.
Standard tech in the Q3 is fairly substantial, but worth mentioning are the intelligent auto start/stop function, electromechanical steering, as well as Audi drive select that offers the driver four different driving modes – Auto, Comfort, Dynamic, and Efficiency. There’s also a whole lot of safety kit – six airbags, Electronic stabilization program (ESP), Traction Control (ASR), Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), and Brake Assist (BA). ISOFIX mounts can also be found on the front passenger and rear seats.
Inside, the cabin feels spacious enough with decent legroom in the rear (although boot space seemed a little smaller than expected). Build quality is top notch, with typical Audi fit and finish and exudes a premium feel. Entertainment comes in the form of a single CD player (stores up to 6 CDs at one go) with SDHC memory card reader, capable of playing MP3, AAC and WMA formats and, if you prefer, there’s also the option of playing music via auxiliary input. Other aids includes a Driver Information Display that shows the car’s fuel range, average fuel consumption, average speed, driving time and service interval. All this information is displayed via the 6.5 inch TFT colour display screen mounted on the center console.
Prices (OTR without insurance) start from RM258,000 for the base model. Tick the box for the S-line trim and the price grows to RM279,000; for that money, you get bigger wheels (18 inch alloys), chromed grille and fog lamp surrounds, S-line door sills, Alcantara seats, as well as a three-spoke sports steering wheel. Other options include comfort key (RM2,500), pearlescent paint (RM3,500), BOSE surround sound (RM5,000) and panoramic roof (RM6,000). The Q3 will be fully imported from Audi’s Martorell manufacturing facility in Spain, and is said to be amongst the most modern in the world.
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