|July 5, 2011
Source: Audi of America
The interior of the Audi Q3 mirrors the exterior design’s sinewy and muscular styling. The wrap-around, a large arc above the dashboard and extending from one front door to the other, is a design feature borrowed from the brand’s large model series. The elegantly sweeping, horizontally stepped instrument panel features a large inlay on the passenger side.
The broad center console is asymmetrical and inclined slightly toward the driver. The clean layout and intuitive operation of all switches and controls on it – the control unit for the audio or MMI system, the strip with the secondary switches and the terminal for the air conditioning – are exemplary.
Manual air conditioning is standard. Deluxe two-zone automatic air conditioning that considers the position of the sun and humidity is available as an option. The large controls, which are spring-loaded, are an optical and tactile highlight. A display indicates the temperatures in each zone. The transition to the center console is home to the start-stop button for the ignition, which Audi packages with the optional convenience key.
The 6.5-inch or 7.0-inch display (standard with the concert radio and upwards), is retracted into the instrument panel. If you tap the top edge of the retracted monitor, it extends upward in a gentle, even motion into an excellent position where it can be read quickly. The fold-out monitor with its high-gloss black frame is a visual and technical highlight in the compact SUV class.
The instrument cluster beneath the rounded cowl also speaks the elegant Audi design language. The speedometer and the tachometer, into which the coolant temperature and fuel level indicators have been integrated, have black dials, white numbers and red needles. At night the instruments are lit in white, the buttons red.
Between the instruments is the center digital display. The optional Audi driver information system is available with a white or color display. The system pools all key information from the audio sources, the telephone, the vehicle and the navigation system. It is broken down into three display areas. An intelligent tab concept makes it very easy to use.
Integrated into the driver information system is the on-board computer with efficiency program. The computer gives the driver tips for fuel-efficient shifting. In models with a manual transmission, an enlarged representation of the gear-change indicator indicates when it is appropriate to shift gears. Another function provides information on which on-board consumers, such as the air conditioning or the rear window heating, are active and how they affect fuel consumption.
The Audi Q3 showcases the new generation of steering wheels that debuted in the A8 luxury sedan. They can be adjusted over a range of 50 millimeters (1.97 in) vertically and horizontally, feature a lightweight magnesium skeleton and come wrapped in leather as standard.
The split bottom spoke of the three-spoke sport steering wheel is an eye-catching and exclusive feature of the Q model family. The two upper spokes can be optionally equipped with paddles, buttons and rotating cylinders that the driver uses to control the on-board computer, the telephone and the audio system. Shift paddles for S tronic are another option.
Firm hold: the seats in the Q3
The front seats in the Audi Q3 offer excellent hold, guidance and support for persons of all sizes. Height-adjustable seats are standard. Options include power lumbar supports, heating and full power adjustment. The strongly bolstered sport seats feature adjustable seat cushion rake and length and come standard with a power lumbar support.
The rear seats are also comfortably shaped and upholstered for a pleasant, upright seating position. Their head restraints can be extended particularly far and lowered far enough so as not to impair the view in the rearview mirror. Despite the sloping, coupe-like roof line, even tall passengers enjoy sufficient headroom in the back, and there is also ample room for feet, knees, shoulders and elbows. Getting in and out of the vehicle is easy thanks to the raised seating position. The stepless door stops are very helpful in garages and narrow parking spots.
The Q3 offers plenty of storage at all of the seats. The console of the center tunnel is home to two cup holders, a 12-volt outlet and a storage bin. There are large pockets in the doors capable of holding 1.5-liter bottles, and there is a small, fold-out compartment to the left of the steering wheel. The base model has an additional compartment on the instrument panel rather than the on-board monitor. A height-adjustable center armrest is optionally available.
The optional storage package offers even more convenience. It includes fold-down compartments under the front seats, storage nets on the front seat backs, a multi-purpose retaining hook in the passenger foot well and a locking glove box.
Premium: the build quality
Evidence of the premium character of the Audi Q3 can be seen in every last detail in the interior – in the selection of the materials, in their processing and in the tight, even gaps. The surface of the instrument panel is softly backed with foam and elegantly textured. All buttons and controls move precisely. The subtle click sounds they make when actuated give audible expression to their technical perfection.
The finely honed interior is visually impressive. Many control elements are available in either standard or optional aluminum-look finishes, including the knobs of the automatic air conditioning, the knob for the lights, the trim around the power window switches and the frames around the door openers and the air vents. A leather-covered shift/selector lever with aluminum inlays is standard.
The round knob on the short selector lever of the S tronic lends it a particularly robust appearance.
Another exclusive solution in this segment is the LED interior lighting package – a technology that bathes the interior in dramatic light. Efficient white light-emitting diodes provide the cabin and reading lights. They illuminate the doors, the headlining, the foot wells, the vanity mirrors, the storage compartments and the air vent thumb wheels. LED light guides even accentuate the cup holders. With the Bose surround sound system, the frames of the woofer/mid-range speakers in the front doors form elegant rings of white light.
A tasteful hand when it comes to color and trim is also a matter of honor for Audi. Five interior color combinations are available – black/black, black/chestnut brown, black/chennai brown, black/titanium gray and truffle beige/pistachio beige. Q3 customers choosing the base version can order platinum-colored applications. Seats in pistachio beige have inlays in truffle beige.
Monometallic plastic inlays are standard. Audi also offers a choice of optional materials that underscore its leadership in interior design. The structure of the dark brown, open-pored larch wood has an authentic look and feel. The material 3D aluminum mesh uses a wire mesh to achieve a silvery-transparent look with a three-dimensional effect. Walnut and Aluminum Satellite – made from perforated aluminum – are other options.
There is also a wide choice of seat coverings. Besides the standard cloth, Audi also offers a second cloth variant and two grades of leather: Milano and Fine Nappa. The sport seats are also available in Pearl Nappa leather/Alcantara.
One upscale option is the S line sport package, which immerses the entire cabin and headlining in dynamic black. The floor mats feature gray piping, the door panels are covered in cloth, and inlays are available in a choice of brushed aluminum or piano finish.
The cloth seats feature embossed coverings in Sprint cloth and leather, and are optionally available in leather/Alcantara or Fine Nappa leather. The leather sport steering wheel and shift knob feature a special design, and S line logos adorn the door sill strips.
Exterior features of the S line sport package are 18-inch wheels from Audi exclusive, a sport suspension that lowers the body 20 millimeters (0.79 in) and badges on the front fenders. An exclusive Daytona Gray metallic finish is also available.
Practical: cargo area
The cargo area of the Audi Q3 can be used very efficiently. Its side walls are virtually plane, and at 781 millimeters (30.75 in), the loading lip is relatively low. Because the shock absorbers are located far to the outside in the body, the compartment is very spacious, offering a pass-through width of 1,067 millimeters (42.01 in).
In its standard configuration, the luggage compartment has a volume of 460 liters (16.24 sq ft). A two-piece, removable cargo area cover hides the contents from view. The split rear seat backs can be folded down quickly and easily in just one step without having to remove the head restraints. When loaded to the roof, cargo volume in this configuration increases to 1,365 liters (48.20 cu ft).
The tailgate opens electronically, including via the remote key fob, and swings up very high. A handle running the width of the tailgate makes it very easy to close again, and it latches with a satisfyingly solid sound. Its clasp has a spring-loaded cover that keeps it from getting dirty – another typical Audi detail, just like the high-quality coverings on the side walls and the cargo floor.
Many features make the cargo area even more practical. Two large hooks, four lashing eyes and a small storage compartment in the left wall are standard. Options available from Audi include a reversible cargo floor with a tub on the reverse side, a reversible mat, stainless steel loading edge trim and a cargo area package that includes a luggage net, a side-mounted net, a 12-volt outlet and a second light.
Another option is the pass-through hatch in a package with an armrest and cup holders. It can be supplemented with a ski bag. Customers who often transport large, bulky objects can order the passenger seat with a folding seat back. The optional trailer hitch has a swiveling ball neck that can be conveniently unlocked using a button in the cargo area.
The Audi Q3 has a maximum towing capacity of two metric tons, depending on the engine. The maximum roof load is 75 kilograms (165.35 lb). The standard roof rail, which comes in either black or anodized aluminum depending on the engine, can be fitted with a wide range of racks for bikes, skis, kayaks and other sports equipment from the Audi accessories program.