What better way to experience Audi’s great compact Q3 crossover than a drive through the Colorado mountains. I hopped on an American Airlines flight from LAX to Denver and found a new 2015 Audi Q3 2.0T quattro Tiptronic waiting for me curbside.

Audi Q3
2015 Audi Q3 2.0T quattro Tiptronic curbside at DEN

With my luxurious destination, The Little Nell, pre-programmed into Audi’s MMI Navigation plus system, I was on my way for what would become a beautiful four-hour ride through the snow.

The route
There are two main ways to get to Aspen from Denver via car and only one is available in the winter. With Independence Pass closed for the season, we took the route through Glenwood Springs and Vail. From DEN, we headed out on I-70 West up through Glenwood Springs and then onto Colorado 82 right into Aspen. The ride took about five hours in good weather. And that included the necessary Chitpotle stop midway in Silverthorne. Even in the winter, the conditions were dry, although the surrounding hills and mountains were covered in snow. Only as we entered the Aspen city limits did we start to see heavy snow falling and snow on the roads.

Audi Q3 in the snow
Driving the Audi Q3 into Aspen

The Audi Q3
Packed with Audi’s amazing technology, style, performance and build quality, this is a great small SUV. The quattro all-wheel-drive offers security even in the snow and the 2.0T engine gives you 200 hp and 207 lp-ft of torque. I find with the 6-speed Tiptronic transmission in the S-mode, the car responds quicker and had a good power reserve when I needed it to pass or merge onto the highway. The solid construction means a quiet cabin, with rich wood inserts and comfortable leather seats. The 12-way adjustable driver (and front passenger) seats allow for a great driving position, no matter what your preference may be. Visibility is great and the panoramic sunroof welcomed in the Colorado sunshine.

The drive
The trip started out on large freeways and the Q3 was quiet and luxurious. My co-pilot quickly connected her Galaxy Note to the audio system via Bluetooth (for better or worse) and we were cruising on our way. It’s a capable, comfortable freeway car, with good throttle response (in S-mode) for normal driving. The cruise control is easy to use and the Audi MMI Navigation plus system provided clear and audible directions.

The destination
All that driving was worth it as we pulled into The Little Nell, Aspen’s only five-star, five-diamond luxury property. Aside from the wonderful, personal service, the best luxury for me was the location, directly at the base of Aspen mountain. The Silver Queen gondola is about ten steps from the hotel’s ski concierge center. The Q3’s cargo area easily held our skis and other ski gear and the power tailgate made the process of retrieving it quite easy.

The Little Nell
Little Nell ski concierge on the left, Silver Queen gondola on the right