GERMAN CAR MAKER AUDI STEELS VAROON P. ANAND IN ITS OWN WORLD WITH AN UNFORGETTABLE DRIVING EXPERIENCE IN MUNICH
Sand coloured grain fields glisten under a drizzle on a wet Munich morning as I glide soundlessly through. It’s my first time driving on a German road and having slipped away from the main highway onto the muddy farm tracks I’m not the slightest bit worried about losing my way. The navigation system’s monitor calls out clear directions, as I take in views ancient and pastoral. The scenery is like a moving painting whose bumps, potholes, and wet earth I can see but not feel. Sinking further into the seat moulded perfectly to my size, I excuse myself for feeling like the master of all that I survey. I am, after all, astride the very noble Audi Q3.
This heady feeling surpasses vanity; it’s the comfort of a car that answers every question with a luxury solution. That’s just how Audi does everything, including getting you acquainted with their features through the Audi driving experience programme. A high-performance advanced driving tuition and education programme, initiated by Audi in 1983 whose primary aim is to educate drivers by theory and physical hands-on tuition. Structured in a number of tiered programmes, including the practice of emergency manoeuvres utilising Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) systems, it also includes safe high speed handling, and helps demonstrate and educate the abilities of Audi’s quattro four-wheel drive system. In a burgeoning luxury automobile market like India’s, the driving experience is also Audi’s answer to picking the right Audi.
Audi has been the leader of India’s luxury automobile segment since 2010, selling 5,511 cars in 2011. Each year Audi tries to introduce a new model for the Indian market, and each year they have to expand the Audi driving experience to give the consumer the tools to choose between the range. In order to continue growing, Audi now looks to make inroads into a sub-section of the rapidly rising SUV market.
What impresses most about Audi is how the group makes all the thought and effort put into efficiency, comfort and innovation invisible to the naked eye. It’s only when your white knuckles are wrapped around the steering wheel, foot gunning the accelerator, reaching 130 km/h only to stomp on the brakes full force that you can appreciate the ABS. The gleeful German instructor sitting shotgun beams. making the experience feel far safer as the rain pours down on the Audi track behind the Munich airport. There couldn’t be another way to make sense of the Q3, the new premium SUV in a compactcategory form. Audi is betting that they can meet the needs of a flashier, younger market with the Q3’s sporty character and coupe-like lines. Sharp edges frame elegantly arched sheet metal surfaces, and distinctive lights accentuate the front and rear. The low roof line, which begins dropping rather early, and the very flat D-pillars, underscore the dynamics of the Q3. The base version of the Audi Q3 weighs just 1,445 kilos. Its rigid, safe and quiet occupant cell integrates a number of ultra-high-strength steels. Both the engine hood and the tailgate are made of aluminium. Audi also offers a choice of optional equipment taken directly from the luxury category, including the adaptive light system for the xenon plus headlights, the high-beam assistant, the panoramic glass roof, the LED interior lighting package and poweradjustable front seats. But most strikingly, Audi has foregone its usually understated black, white, and greys for some truly bright choices, like the Samoa orange I rode, to excite a younger market.
Back on that dirt road rolling away from Munich, the navigation system informs me I have arrived in Erding. I start backing up to park and a view pops on the dashboard connected to a camera in the back showing me what I’m reversing into. I step out and a sensor in the key locks the doors when I’m far enough. I breathe in crisp, fresh air, order a pint from a tavern, and take a few moments to appreciate the Bavarian beauty before restlessness hits. I turn back and a few steps away the Audi, sensing my wanderlust, opens by itself, ready to encapsulate me into its charming world.
THE AUDI Q3 ON THE SLALOM COURSE DURING THE AUDI DRIVING EXPERIENCE IN MUNICH
THE NEW AUDI Q3 RETAINS THE FAMILIAR BEVY OF DRIVER ASSISTANCE AND MULTIMEDIA SYSTEMS AND COMFORTABLY SEATS 5 PASSENGERS