Cars mean different things to different people, and to designer Darren Palmer, a vehicle’s aesthetic is just as important as its performance.

13 November, 2019


Different people seek different things from their cars. Everyone wants reliability, appointment and a certain style and level of performance. But from there, individual needs, tastes and priorities create a wealth of different reasons to favour one vehicle over another.

For someone like Audi ambassador and design guru, Darren Palmer, a vehicle’s design – both inside and out – is a deciding factor in its appeal. Sure, performance, safety and comfort are all important parts of the equation, but for someone so driven by design, it’s hardly surprising that this aspect is of paramount importance.

Recently, in between a fairly hectic filming schedule and myriad other projects, Darren got behind the wheel of the new Audi Q3 to get a feel for the brand’s new ‘compact luxury SUV’.

“This is a breathtaking update on what’s come before it,” says Palmer of the second-generation Audi Q3.

“What I love about the new Q3 is that it is, basically, a design-driven car,” he says.

Externally, Darren was struck by elements like the front LED headlights drawing the eye down the flanks of the vehicle and over the ‘quattro blisters’ and the use of a coupe-like shoulder line to give the Q3 a dynamic appearance even at standstill.

What I love about the new Q3 is that it is, basically, a design-driven car

Inside, the combination of quality craftsmanship is very familiar, while the fully digital dash layout is new to the Q3

Inside, the combination of quality craftsmanship is very familiar, while the fully digital dash layout is new to the Q3. Simple and elegant, from a designer’s perspective, the feeling of increased space makes a huge impression, but as Darren says, this has been achieved the old fashioned way.

“A feeling of space is important – and the best way to create that feeling is with actual space.”

“This Q3 is bigger, longer and wider, with genuine space for five adults inside, making it a legitimate family option.”

But on top of the room, the finish and tactile nature of the interior makes it a particularly good place to be.

“As you engage with the cabin, every surface is satisfying to the touch – a tactile, daily confirmation of the quality design and materials,” says Palmer.

Of course the tech isn’t lost on Darren either, even though much of it is essentially invisible – but the likes of voice control with natural speech recognition and autonomous parking enhance the overall experience of living with the Q3.

So, the new Q3 gets the nod of approval from Darren Palmer in the design stakes, as well the tech and luxury stakes.

“Its design language is effortless and modern, with clean, sculpted architecture and greater dimensions. There’s best-in-class tech and a host of features straight from the larger, luxury segment.”

“Oh – it’s also great to drive.”