2015 Audi Q3 2.0T quattro TiptronicPosted on April 1st, 2015
Compact model joins the Q5 and Q7 crossover family
By Nina Russin
Who doesn’t love a fast car? As athletes, we obsess over ways to make our bodies stronger and more agile. Since a person’s car is, in a sense, his alter ego, shouldn’t it do the same?
The Audi Q3 that debuts for the 2015 model year expands the brand’s crossover lineup to three offerings. The new compact crossover takes a similar approach to styling and performance as its larger siblings, the Q5 and Q7. Smaller dimensions and better fuel economy make it a more practical choice for urbanites that contend with limited parking and congested thoroughfares.
Both front-wheel drive and quattro models are powered by a two-liter, turbocharged 200-horsepower engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The engine reaches peak torque, 207 foot-pounds, at the tip of a throttle for exceptional acceleration off the line. The manufacturer lists a zero-to-sixty time of 7.8 seconds for the front-wheel drive model: 8.2 for the quattro.
Base price is $34,600 excluding the $925 destination charge. Standard convenience features include Bluetooth interface, satellite radio, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlamps, heated front seats and iPod interface. The test car comes with special exterior paint, navigation, 19-inch wheels and a power tailgate, bringing the final MSRP to $39,175.
Test drive in Arizona
This week I drove the Q3 through the Phoenix and Chandler, Arizona metropolitan areas as well as on the Bush Highway in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. The test drive included some time in rush-hour traffic. The drive along the Beeline and Bush Highways gave me a feel for the car’s performance at altitude, as well as a chance to test the suspension and steering response.
Audi has a reputation for nimble performance. Engineers shave weight off the chassis by using aluminum body panels for the hood and tailgate, and high-strength steel in key areas to make the chassis rigid. The result is enhanced response from the steering and four-wheel independent suspension.
On the Bush Highway, I used the manual gear selection mode to keep the engine in its sweet spot: about 3,000 rpm. Engineers have programmed the shift points to keep the car revving below 2,000 in fully automatic mode for better gas mileage. Although the car performs perfectly fine that way for normal driving conditions, it’s a lot more fun when the engine winds up, with better throttle response in the mid-range.
The six-speed transmission works quite well with the engine, with crisp, precise shifts. When the driver digs into the throttle to accelerate hard, the transmission responds quickly.
Steering response is good at all speeds, with plenty of assist on the low end for maneuvering through crowded parking lots and good on-center response on the highway. A 38.7-foot turning circle makes it possible to perform U-turns on wider surface roads.
The four-wheel independent suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and a four-link setup in the back. A stabilizer bar on the front axle keeps the chassis flat in the corners. Four-wheel disc brakes stop the car in firm, linear fashion.
Visibility to the front and sides of the car is good. I had no problems monitoring traffic in adjacent lanes on the highway, although a blind spot monitoring system would have made weaving through rush-hour traffic easier.
Audi interiors look more Spartan than some of their luxury competitors, lacking the fancy wood trim. But the clean, uncluttered appearance inside the Q3 grows on a person over time. Everything inside the car is functional and well placed, from the large information screen at the top of the center stack to the digital display inside the gauge cluster.
Steering wheel controls are designed to operate intuitively to minimize driver distraction. Audi’s MMI system operates in similar fashion to a PC mouse, and eliminates a clutter of buttons for controlling infotainment functions.
Audi Connect is available on the upscale Prestige models, turning the car into a mobile hotspot.
Keyless entry and start saves the driver from fumbling for the key fob. The Q3 seats five passengers. The second-row seat folds flat to extend the cargo floor for larger items such as skis and bicycles.
The optional panoramic sunroof brings an abundance of ambient light inside the car. A shade that comes with the package enables occupants to enjoy the sunlight in warm weather without heating up the interior.
The Audi Q3 comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, tire pressure monitoring and daytime running lamps. The factory warranty includes complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first year or 5,000 miles of ownership.
Audi builds the Q3 in Martorell, Spain
Like: A stylish compact crossover vehicle with a bicycle-friendly interior, good fuel economy, excellent power and performance.
Dislike: The manufacturer recommends using premium unleaded gasoline, increasing the cost of ownership.
Model: Q3 2.0T quattro Tiptronic
Base price: $34,600
As tested: $39,175
Horsepower: 200 Hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque: 207 lbs.-ft. @ 1700 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 8.2 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 20/28 mpg city/highway2015, Luxury 2015, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, Audi, auto review, performance, pricing, standard safety
One response to “2015 Audi Q3 2.0T quattro Tiptronic”
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