Cylin­der shut­down that’s just seam­less

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH -

THE con­stant ad­vance of tech­nol­ogy in mod­ern cars never fails to amaze me... and nowhere more so than at Audi.

En­ter their lat­est ver­sion of the pop­u­lar Q3, which was un­veiled along with a num­ber of other model re­vi­sions in the UK ear­lier this year.

Added to the Q3 range for 2015 was Audi’s ‘cylin­der-on-de­mand’ 1.4-litre TFSI petrol en­gine. With lively per­for­mance de­spite its diminu­tive size it has al­most 150 bhp.

Like a num­ber of other man­u­fac­tur­ers, Audi have worked out that the car does not al­ways need to be a four cylin­der, but the re­ally clever bit is how this hap­pens, to­tally un­no­ticed.

You would think that – as you cruise along the mo­tor­way at near the le­gal limit – if half the en­gine’s cylin­ders shut down you would be able to tell. But it is seam­less… the only in­di­ca­tion of a switch to just two cylin­ders is a dis­crete mes­sage on the bin­na­cle dis­play.

This ‘party piece’ en­ables the Q3 we had as our test car this week to re­turn over 50mpg on the com­bined cy­cle and near 60 on a run – not bad for a petrol cross­over. Yet it can go from 0 to 62 in un­der nine sec­onds and hit a top speed of 126.

Other changes in­clude a re­vised front end, more in line with the lat­est Audi cor­po­rate look, mi­nor styling en­hance­ments at the back and in­creased stan­dard equip­ment.

There are three trim lev­els – SE, S-Line and S-Line Plus. Our test 1.4 TFSi S line six-speed man­ual is bang in the mid­dle of the line-up and price range at £27,515.

The car had that very use­ful power tail­gate, which is stan­dard above the base model, plus six airbags and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, DAB ra­dio, sat-nav, speed limit dis­play and ac­tive lane as­sist. S line mod­els and above also fea­ture Xenon head­lamps and all mod­els have an up­mar­ket in­te­rior and feel built to last.

How­ever, our car boasted quite a list of op­tional ex­tras which took that on-the-road price up into Evoque ter­ri­tory at £33,900 – but did in­clude things like spe­cial smart ‘dou­ble spoke’ al­loy wheels, Dig­i­tal TV, heated front seats, a ‘tech­nol­ogy pack­age’ (£1,500!), and a par­tic­u­larly ex­cel­lent hill hold as­sist sys­tem, which is one of the best I have come across and makes queu­ing in up­hill traf­fic a dod­dle.

The stan­dard Drive Se­lect sys­tem al­lows you to ad­just the steer­ing weight and throt­tle re­sponse – but it’s best left in auto mode to let the car de­cide when power is needed and how many cylin­ders to em­ploy.

Also the steer­ing feels a lit­tle heavy in sport mode and the car’s sharp han­dling means a firmer ride than other com­pact SUVs, but it is still com­fort­able.

All ver­sions of­fer the op­tion of either man­ual or S tronic twin-clutch au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, which are both ex­cel­lent, and above our 1.4 in the en­gine stakes is an up­dated 2.0-litre TFSI petrol unit – with power up from 170bhp in the out­go­ing Q3 to 180 – mated to the S tronic trans­mis­sion with qu­at­tro all-wheel-drive.

The diesel ver­sion has a 2.0 TDi with 150 bhp or 180, 2wd or Qu­at­tro and mpg fig­ures lit­tle bet­ter than our 1.4 petrol.

With the lat­est facelift, Audi hopes to con­tinue the Q3’s cur­rent suc­cess – the firm has sold 400,000 glob­ally since its launch in 2011.

Mind you, it needs to be a good car as the near­est op­po­si­tion are Range Rover Evoque, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA

Prices start from £25,340 OTR up to £35,735 and there is a hot RS Q3 on the way with 340bhp which tops the range at £45,495 – but will not be on sale here in the UK un­til Spring next year.

See www.audi.co.uk.

●» The 2015 Q3 has re­vised front and rear de­sign

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