Test drive: Audi Q3

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Audi Q3, from $37,280.

Audi Q3, from $37,280.

Audi’s new compact SUV, the Q3, has arrived to the Middle East markets. Following the success of the company’s Q5 and Q7 SUV models, which made up 30 percent of total Middle East sales in the first four months of 2012, Audi is placing high hopes on its first SUV in the compact segment.

The Q3 is immediately recognisable as the youngest member of the large Audi family. Every aspect of the Q3 showcases Audi technology — the body, the drivetrain, the chassis and the assistance and multimedia systems. The coupe-like lines are an expression of its sporty character. Sharp edges frame elegantly arched sheet metal surfaces, and distinctive lights xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights accentuate the front and rear.  The compact SUV is 4.39 meters long, 1.83 meters wide and 1.59 metres high. With only 1,630kg (base version) and a highly rigid and safe occupant cell, Audi once again demonstrates its competence in “ultra” lightweight construction. Earlier this year the Audi Q3 received five stars for passive crash safety by the European consumer protection initiative Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme).

The Audi Q3 offers ample room for all five passengers and sets new standards for ergonomics, workmanship as well as countless possibilities for customers to express their own personal style. The luggage compartment of the compact SUV has a capacity of 460 liters, which can be increased to 1,365 litres. Many useful options, including a pass-through hatch, make the Q3 even more versatile and convenient in everyday use.

The Audi Q3 comes with a generously long list of standard equipment, including seventeen inch alloy wheels, the concert audio system as well as ISOFIX child seat mounting. Audi also offers a choice of optional equipment taken directly from the luxury class, including the adaptive light system, the high-beam assistant, the panoramic glass roof and the comfort key. For the Middle East, the standard settings also include heat insulating glass and a deluxe automatic air conditioning that considers the position of the sun and humidity. The range of driver assistance systems redefines the compact SUV class. The park assist system maneuvers the vehicle into tight parking spots almost autonomously; Audi side assist employs radar to help change lanes. Audi also offers a comprehensive range of infotainment components. Topping the range of options is the hard-drive navigation system MMI navigation plus, which displays high-resolution 3D graphics on a fold-out 7.0-inch colour monitor.

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