Audi RS Q3 vs BMW 330d & Merc A45
Quick, fun, practical and four-wheel-drive? Audi's new RS Q3 isn't quite the niche-buster it might appear...
Posted: 16 Dec 2013
The BMW is immediately lovely, if I'm honest. Slightly lumpy ride from the big alloys (especially if you play with the various suspension and map modes other than Comfort, namely the versions marked Sport and Sport+) but it's otherwise taut and level, honest and familiar. The engine is big-hearted and surprisingly willing to rev to 5,000rpm, the 8spd always butlerish with the appropriate ratio. It has got enough of them, after all. The steering is slightly heavier and less immediate than the rear-drive version, a touch gloopier, but the real surprise comes when you find that you can simply flatten the throttle midway around a wet roundabout and fire out the other side without fuss. The xDrive system is slightly rear-biased 40/60, so there's a lot of familiar BMW-ness about the middle part of a corner, but as soon as you get on the throttle, xDrive can shuttle 99 per cent of the diesel's power and torque to either axle and tap ABS to keep things pointing in the right direction. As long as you have throttle actually depressed, the xDrive 330d feels pretty much foolproof. Given how most of us drive in the real world - not power-sliding at every available opportunity - a couple of grand seems like an old-fashioned bargain.