Wednesday 25 January 2012

Road - Audi Ache

Deep doors obscure high sills!
Aerodynamics are dangerous. I’ve got the bruise to prove it. The trouble with manufacturers these days is that they are having to make their latest automotive creations ever more slippery. These sleek, smooth, curvy lines from the front of a vehicle tapering towards the rear are designed to cut through the air with the minimum of ease using less energy to generate forward propulsion which in theory results in less fuel being used.

This has resulted in steeply raked windscreens with acutely inclined A pillars. That inevitably means that the roof line is pretty much lower at its leading edge. Usually it’s not a problem, but with an SUV which has a high sill and a high seat cushion coupled to a lower roofline, that means a smaller door aperture for the driver and passenger to climb in.

And therein lies the problem. A couple of times last year I banged my head cos I hadn’t ducked hard enough as I climbed in. And I did it again last week when the Audi Q3 arrived.  Compared to the Q7 and Q5 this is the baby of the SUV family, but it still required a leg up and over the sill, aim the buttocks at the seat cushion and duck while diving in.

I didn’t duck low enough. I gave myself a fearful clatter on the roof. Fortunately without damage to the metalwork and paint, and no blood stains. But by goad it hurt.

So I set off driving the thing thinking bad thoughts and car crushers, but by the time the car went away this morning, I was actually beginning to like it, and like it quite a lot.

For a start it goes well. The 7 spd auto transmission has an S setting (for Sport!), and paddles, and that makes the most of the 175 bhp 2 litre turbo diesel while the Quattro drivetrain makes the most of the transmission and roadholding.

And once I started liking it I couldn’t help myself. The seats are quite deeply sculpted and supportive but the seat cushion was a bit short for the long legged - till I discovered that the front bolster slid out to provide more thigh support. Bliss.

So Audi’s done it again, built another impressive and capable motor, with prices starting from around 25 grand – but doesn’t include crash helmets.

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