The new Audi Q3 compact SUV due here in October

The all new Audi Q3 is the premium German carmaker’s first foray into the premium A SUV segment. The order book opens late in August for what is the third Q-model in the series.

Audi say that the Q3 will have the distinction of being the first Audi SUV to offer the efficiency-focused option of a 54mpg front-wheel-drive variant.

Pricing for the Q3 will starts at €33,850 ex-works (or €34,650 on the road ) for the 2.0TDI 140 SE version which is expected to account for the majority of orders.

Audi say that four engines will initially be available, all combining direct fuel injection with turbo charging and all backed up by start-stop and energy recuperation systems. First up is the aforementioned 2.0-litre TDI with 140 bhp and 177 bhp and the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol unit in 170 bhp and 211 bhp forms. The 2.0-litre TDI 140 bhp unit will power the front-wheel-drive model only at launch, with a quattro version joining the offer early in 2012. With emissions of just 133g/km, the 2.0TDI 140 variant resides in tax band B, qualifying the purchaser for annual road tax of just €156.

The new Audi Q3 has a long, broad body, coupe-like roof line and smooth, sweeping lines. Audi say that it deliberately avoids the traditional boxy look of an SUV, and boasts that with its low lean-forward stance and muscular, flared wheel arches the Q3 has an abundance of sporty character while retaining the Audi look.

Audi say that inside, the Q3 is deceptively roomy with seating for up to five adults. In the back you have 1,365 litres of load/luggage capacity thanks to split/folding rear seats. Audi claims that the boot space offered in the Q3 (460 litres ) is superior to that of all its main competitors underlining the practicality of their new premium offering.

The new Q3 offers a good level of standard equipment across the SE and S line specification levels. For example, externally the SE version includes 17-inch alloy wheels, aluminium roof rails and rear parking sensors, and inside dual-zone climate control, a concert audio system with 6.5-inch retractable colour display screen, bluetooth interface, Audi Music Interface (iPod connection ) and multifunction leather steering wheel.

The Q3 will also come equipped with navigation preparation, enabling customers to activate navigation retrospectively by purchasing an SD card if required.

For a premium of €3,300 above SE versions, the new Audi Q3 can be upgraded to the S line specification, which includes 18-inch alloy wheels, S line exterior and interior styling enhancements, and xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and LED rear tail lights.

Safety options that caught my eye include a steerable beam adaptive light technology for the xenon plus headlights, as well as a high-beam assistant to intelligently illuminate the road ahead.

In combination with the option of quattro permanent four-wheel drive the Q3 ensures all year long drivability through snow, ice or whatever the conditions may throw at you.

Safety and security are both key focus items for Audi as evident from the listing of ESP with electronic slip differential, six airbags, ABS, front and rear isofix points, and vehicle immobiliser on the standard equipment list. And you shouldn’t forget that the high driving position also offers a superior view of the road to drivers.

Andrew Doyle, the managing director of Audi Ireland, told the Advertiser, “The Audi Q3 is a premium SUV offering all the benefits of Audi’s DNA in a more compact form. It is of course sporty, yet extremely efficient and versatile - a perfect mix of vehicle at the right time in the Irish market. The Q3 showcases Audi’s expertise in all aspects of engineering: from its lightweight body through strong and efficient drive trains and a dynamic chassis to its state-of-the-art assistance systems and multimedia systems. We are delighted to introduce the newest member of the highly successful Q family to the Irish market.”

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