Colin Hubbard has an Audi RS Q3 on loan for a week. Here are his first impressions
I've never been a fan of SUVs viewing them as pointless statements of wealth generally driven by mumsies wearing fake tan and bright trainers. My issue with SUVs is the high centre of gravity so they won't handle as well as normal cars, and the taller front end area blunts performance and makes them use more fuel.
On a recent Audi media day the Q3 and Q5 were available but my sights were set on the faster sportier cars such as R8 and TT RS and great fun they were. The RS Q3 was very popular on the day so when Audi gave me the opportunity to sample one of their cars for a week I opted for the fast Q3 to see what all the fuss was about.
So four days ago Audi dropped off a Sepang Blue RS Q3 on my drive and it was mine for the whole week. Having a car for a week gives you the opportunity to fully test it, not just on a fast blat down some country roads but also on long motorway cruises and time to load up the family and see what they think of it. In addition you have the opportunity to experience all of the vehicle controls and toys which you wouldn't on a shorter test.
When I had my first look around it I was very impressed. Even though it is Audi's smallest SUV and based upon the Mk 5 Golf Platform it is quite spacious inside. The additional height translates into a better use of cabin space than its less lofy relatives and in the back this equates to lots of legroom.
After living with it for a few days it has really impressed not just me, but friends, family and work mates who have been driven around in it. One colleague is considering buying one purely from the passenger run. They liked the view out from its elevated cabin, the interior space and quality of the fittings noting it doesn't really need to be any bigger for a family car although the boot is on the small size.
The cabin oozes quality with flashes of real carbon fibre and the mechanical package helps justify its list price of £42k (£50k as tested).
The engine is an in-line 5 cylinder with single turbo which is really grunty and in conjunction with its 7 speed twin clutch S tronic gearbox takes just 5.2 seconds to hit 62 mph. It feels fast on the road and made my eldest daughter scream when I accelerated hard with her in the car.
The ride is genuinely comfortable yet more than capable of handling the 306 bhp the engine churns out, no doubt helped out by the huge 20 inch wheels and 255/35/20 Dunlop Quattromax tyres.
It has started to quash my doubts that a car with a high centre of gravity can be fast and entertaining and the extra height has actually come in useful on my country road commute as the additional height means I have a better view over hedges .
One little feature the Q3 has is huge door pockets, even the back doors have a pocket, and every one can take a large bottle plus a few more items. It costs very little to design in and implement but makes a big difference when living with a car.
Full report to follow soon but for now I am really enjoying my time with the RS Q3.
Check out our Audi RS Q3 test drive review
By Colin Hubbard