Audi Q3 all-wheel drive diesel applies premium SUV pressure

Every Audi Q3s is now all-wheel drive.
Every Audi Q3s is now all-wheel drive.

AUDI has applied the blowtorch to rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW with a new entry-level Q3 diesel all-wheel compact SUV priced from $47,500.

The new Q3 enters the mix with Australians gravitating to SUVs like never before.

This squat and muscular plush offering already has a stranglehold on premium compact SUV segment, accounting for more than half of all segment sales (albeit a segment with only three players).

BMW has about 33% of the market with the X1, its Mini Countyman cousin accounting for the remainder, but Mercedes-Benz is expected to crash the party early next year with its GLA.

In the meantime, Audi will strength its position despite the base-model model price rising with this 2014 model update.

Previously the basement Q3 retail price was $44,800 for the two-wheel variant, but given 99% of sales are all-wheel drive, the four rings decided to go exclusively with all-paw grip.

Inside the new Audi Q3.
Inside the new Audi Q3.

For those not wanting to damage the bank balance too much, few would be disappointed with the new entry-level 2.0-litre turbo diesel Q3.

Its 103kW would be more than capable for most drivers and the 320Nm provides some handy shunt through the mid-range.

The Q3 is a wonderfully quiet offering on-road.

On varying surfaces the little wagon remains composed and it's happy to get up and boogie when you stamp your right foot. It's 0-100kmnh sprint time of just below 10 seconds really doesn't do it justice.

The seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission is a gem, and should return fuel consumption of about six litres for every 100km.

We even took the Q3 for some old-fashion paddock-bashing in country New South Wales last week and the little SUV handled things with dignity. Perhaps too much dignity…paddock bashing and plush SUVs don't traditionally mix, but with the safety gizmos turned off the Q3 was happy to drift and slide its way around with controlled finesse.

Basic equipment includes 17-inch alloys, leather-appointed seats, dual zone climate controlled air con, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming along with auto lights and wipers.   

"The addition of this new entry-level model is significant, because it creates a more affordable entry point into Quattro, making it unrivalled in this class. We believe sales of the Q3 range will continue to grow with this introduction," Audi Australia chief Andrew Doyle said.

Audi Q4 pricing

Q3 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic 103kW $47,500
Q3 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic 130kW $55,000
Q3 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic 125kW $49,450
Q3 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic 155kW $56,500

Style Package (from $2000): Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, 18-inch alloy wheels in two styles. 

Technik Package (from $3790): MMI Navigation plus with 20GB hard drive and two SD card readers, i parking system plus with rear view camera, park assist and area view, Audi Sound System.

Comfort Package (from $3990): Fine Nappa leather, electric front seats with lumbar support, front seat heating, convenience key, auto dimming interior mirror.

Assistance Package (from $1250): Audi side assist, active lane assist , high-beam assist. 

S line sport package ($6000): S line interior and exterior, sport seats in Alcantara and leather with S line embossing, sports multifunction steering wheel, Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.

The new Audi Q3.
The new Audi Q3.

Topics:  audi cars news motoring

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