... and there's not a dead bird in sight, writes Ian Mallon
IS 2012 the year of the Audi? It certainly feels like that.
But its got nothing to do with your 'Vorsprung durch Technik' -- instead the year so far has been a flurry of news stories about the four circled badge
In a week when Audi found itself as Ireland's top selling luxury carmaker after finally overtaking BMW it was also never out of the news pages.
And hot on the heels of the 'Birds on the Bonnet' controversy in which Rachel Allen's avian slaughter was splayed across her Q7, came an even more bizarre story featuring the A3.
Except in this case -- also in Cork - the dangerous driver wasn't brandishing a shotgun and blasting the life out of things, this Audi driver was using his free car to maim humans.
The hapless chap was what's commonly known as a car thief, or a joy rider as they're affectionately called in some neighbourhoods which are a million miles from Ballymaloe.
In this case the driver crashed his Audi but it's what he did next that will mark this moron as 'Ireland's Dumbest Driver' for the rest of history.
Instead of tending to the injured people at the scene our Rebel fled by jumping over a wall -- and this is the best bit -- where to his huge surprise and no doubt shock was a 40 ft drop onto a railway line.
When he eventually came to a halt on the tracks below he had two broken legs, leaving his prone body in the path of an oncoming train.
Sadly the train managed to stop and our moronic motorist will live to tell his slack-jawed grandkids about the adventures their Gramps got up to 'back in the day'.
Of course the Cork car thief wasn't actually given a free car by Audi, unlike Rachel Allen, or even me.
In my case the arrival of the Q3 on my drive was one of the most anticipated new models in quite some time.
Now, I hadn't seen one in the flesh up to this but I had expected something significant, given that the Q7 is so, so big and the Q5 is so big.
Well, it did not disappoint. The Q3 was so roomy and spacious but that's not the real story.
The best bit was the performance, thanks to a delicious 2.0 TDI engine which was controlled by a superb fully automatic triptronic gearbox.
The Q3 is also a Quattro making it the coolest small-to-medium sized SUV on the market. As you might expect from a car which is fully automatic, turbo diesel and four wheel drive, it handles like an absolute peach.
Acceleration and take off are superb thanks to a dinger of a 177bhp powerhouse and cruising is a dream, an effortless glide-like affair.
The only downside is the only dead thing I carried on it was not flock of dead peasants, but the Christmas tree, which only goes some way to highlight just how significant it is in size.
The other tasty thing about the Audi Q3 is the price and with a starting tag of €35k you may be paying top dollar, but you're getting the best SUV on the market today.