With its Q3, Audi has reaffirmed its leading role in automotive design when it comes to colors and materials as well. The compact premium SUV offers a long list of innovative products. Audi has developed new inlays made of wood and aluminum materials.
Rosalie Schrader’s eyes light up when she talks about the interior of the Audi Q3. “Our work has a sensuous character,” says Schrader, a designer who works with the Color and Trim Team. “We want to give the exterior and the interior a strong aesthetic – its very own soul.” A sure hand when it comes to colors and materials and a clear desire to do new things – this is the philosophy of the Design department.
Even the standard inlays in the Q3 – which come in platinum or truffle beige, depending on the interior color – are of superior quality. The finish of the inlays, which was developed with Schrader’s help, has a more metallic and robust appearance than is ordinarily found. Audi offers its customers four additional material options, including two new ones developed by the Color and Trim Team led by Susanne Stöbe.
The latest innovation is a dark brown, open-pored inlay made of larch wood. Because the application of varnish has been largely avoided, the inlay retains its natural wood structure and slightly rough surface feel. The manufacturing process, which Audi developed in partnership with a supplier, enables the inlay to appear even more three-dimensional and more natural. The growth phases of the wood are emphasized during the manufacturing process. The soft structure of the early wood that grows during the fast growth phase of the tree in spring forms slightly raised stripes. The late wood, on the other hand, grows in summer and condenses into a harder structure in the wood relief. Accordingly, these stripes are deeper.
The second new feature is a 3D aluminum mesh material that is constructed from two components. The surface of finely brushed aluminum is stamped out in a honeycomb pattern. Each of the tightly packed hexagons has a diameter of only 2.5 millimeters; 12 of them fit within a square centimeter. Under this net-like surface lies a holographic white surface with a three-dimensional appearance. The production method can only be discerned on closer examination. The idea behind it: “We wanted to combine two technically sophisticated surfaces in order to produce a completely new look,” said Susanne Stöbe, Head of the Color and Trim Team.
The Q3’s many interior details produce a unique and fascinating aesthetic. Many of the controls feature an aluminum-look finish, while the steering wheel and gearshift are in leather. The upholstery is offered in two standard and two optional materials, along with Milano and Fine Nappa leather as well as a combination of leather and Alcantara.
The instrument panel of the Audi Q3 can be delivered in two colors; a lighter color on the bottom gives it a sleek, slender appearance. Five combinations are possible in the Q3 – black/black, black/chestnut brown, black/chennai brown, black/titanium gray and truffle beige/pistachio beige. The S line sport package immerses the entire interior in black. Customers can order the truffle beige and platinum trim colors even in the base version. “The color palette ranges from opaque colors to cool, technical gray and black tones, to expressive interior colors,” Schrader said. “The natural colors allow us to underscore the offroad character of the car especially well.”
Another aesthetic highlight of the Audi Q3 is the optional LED interior light package, which accentuates the interior with tiny LEDs. The white light-emitting diodes are used to provide interior and reading light with low energy consumption. They illuminate the doors, the headlining, the footwells, the vanity mirrors and the storage compartments; even the cupholders are accented by ring-shaped LED light guides. With the Bose surround sound system, which also comes as an option, the frames of the woofer/mid-range speakers in the front doors form rings of white light. The LED interior light package is unmatched in the compact SUV segment.