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New Q joins the queue

The Audi Q3 is a car that offers more than you might expect. By Adrian Ion

December 2011 - From the Print Edition

The versatile Q family from Audi has just gained another member. This is the smallest and cutest one, and was named Q3. Born in 2011, it goes to the same kindergarten as the BMW X1, the Range Rover Evoque and its cousin, the Volkswagen Tiguan.
This is a small car, but far roomier than you would expect: the truck is 460 liters and the interior will comfortably accommodate four adults, even on longer journeys.
My test drive model was the 2.0 TDI diesel version with 177 HP and the automatic seven-speed S-Tronic transmission. This and the 2.0-liter TFSI petrol unit and 170HP are the only engine choices available for the moment. Being a light vehicle, these engines will do their job more than reasonably.
Although the Q3 can be considered an entry-level car in the range, Audi has not compromised at all on the quality of the materials used in the cabin. As you would expect, it’s nearly perfect. The driving position is good, ensuring fine visibility, which is a thing I have learned to appreciate more and more in today’s cars which too often sacrifice visibility for the sake of design. The tested version was also fitted with the whole package of parking sensors which are positioned around the vehicle, not only at the front and back. These sensors also work with the automatic self-parking system that will park the car for you.
The majority of the hi-tech gadgets found in bigger Audis can also be fitted to the Q3, so there is no feeling of this being a poorer brother for those who have deep pockets.
Driving this car is a pleasure, both in the city and on the highway. The small body of the vehicle makes it easy to park, the steering is light and, as mentioned, visibility good, so it can be used as a city runaround. For longer trips, the trunk is large enough, the suspension setting is balanced and the four-wheel drive system will make it suitable for use through the year.
Prices in Romania start at around EUR 30,000, including VAT, for the 2.0 liter and 140 HP diesel version, two-wheel drive and manual transmission, but your final price will most likely go up by a few thousand for the must-have extras. Is it a price worth paying? In my opinion, yes – for the versatility and quality of this small SUV.

VITAL STATISTICS
Tested model: Audi Q3 TDI 2.0
Engine& transmission: 2.0 litre, turbo diesel
Drivetrain: 7 speed automatic S-tronic
Power: 177 HP
Top speed: 212 km/h
0-100 km/h: 8.2 secs



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