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 A45 is unsurprisingly a more aggressive proposition. At first, it feels similar in ride to the BMW, but lighter, keener to change direction and noticeably quicker to accelerate, with at least 20mph of the cumulative speed down to the gruff exhaust note and chuckling pop-bang overrun. Not exactly sonorous, just the noisy murder of air and fuel - but lively and exciting nonetheless. It corners flat and clean with a slight tendency to understeer when you push it, and it only starts to feel four-wheel drive when the front begins to wash wide - unsurprising when you find out that the AWD system is heavily front-biased in most driving, only shifting a maximum of 50 per cent of the engine's grunt rearwards when the front wheels have detected slip. In fact, on the road it feels more like a well-sorted front-driver than AWD, but there's not much wrong with that. There is one major gripe, though: the seven-speed 'box can be annoyingly reticent to change down, even when you have the space in the rev range to do so - which makes for some interesting gurning coming into long, loaded-up Welsh mountainside corners.