Audi introduces the Q3 – an urbane friendly SUV

It used to be so simple – 4×4’s were big, clumsy goliaths, driven mostly by mums on the school run, with few redeeming qualities apart from their use as rescue vehicles during Britain’s recent mini Ice Age. Just a few years ago the Urban 4×4 (or SUV/SAV as car makers like to call them) were considered an endangered species as organisations sprung up – The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s – devoted to its demise.

Driven: BMW’s 2011 X3 xDrive20d SE

It seems fortuitous that BMW chose a snowy Austria for the UK launch of its new 2011 X3, in fact the timing couldn’t have been any more perfect. As I write this, much of the UK is gripped by the most wintry November conditions in recent memory, Ideal for the four-wheel-drive SUV sector that BMW has targeted with its X3. But of course four-wheel-drive is only as useful as the traction available to a car’s tyres, so BMW also chose last week’s X3 launch to reveal its new range of winter-tyre packages available on all BMW and MINI models.