Audi Claims Women Like Butch Cars Because It Needs It To Be True

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Audi is claiming women want butch, masculine, testosterone-saturated designs when it comes to their automobiles. Though it isn’t clear if they’re doing this because the automaker conducted extensive research on the matter or because they happen to be selling a muscular-looking crossover they’re really hoping will be popular with women.

Truth be told, while we wouldn’t have expected male and female tastes to perfectly overlap, we didn’t know that women were biased toward vehicular beefcake one way or the other.

“It was an error in the past to think that all women want sweet cars,” Audi exterior designer Matthias Fink told Automotive News Europe in a recent interview. He likewise claimed that female customers have professional lives and want a car that reflects their equal status, just like men. We would like to be the first to welcome Mr. Fink and the rest of Audi to 40 years ago.

However, what constitutes a “sweet” car is debatable. Volkswagen’s Beetle springs to mind, and was clearly marketed with women in mind when it was relaunched as the “New Beetle” in 1997, but the model never managed to convince every female pickup driver in America to make the switch — seemingly proving Audi’s point, we suppose.

Audi’s Q3 is moving to the MQB platform for the second-generation, gaining some aggressive new styling in the process. The small crossover is currently only surpassed by the Q5 and A4 sedan in terms of sales and has been relatively popular with women. However, that’s true of crossovers in general. Audi simply doesn’t want to lose the demographic.

Reaching a little deeper into its bag of tricks, the Q3 also gets more interior volume (which everyone is likely to appreciate) and more advanced safety features (which women are slightly more inclined to want) as standard equipment. Among those are park assist, lane-keeping with assist, rear cross-traffic alerts, and emergency automatic braking whether you’re in drive or reverse. On the more advanced end of the spectrum is the Q3’s adaptive cruise assist, which uses the vehicle’s 360-degree camera suite and provides a virtual bird’s-eye view of the car’s immediate surroundings. It’s all rather advanced, even if it’s not groundbreaking, and Audi thinks women will love it.

There’s also a massive 12.2-inch Virtual Cockpit available for those that find the standard 10.3-inch unit insufficient. Center screens can be similarly upgraded.

However, this is still a bit of a chicken and the egg situation. We’re over here wondering if Audi actually designed the car with women in mind during its “bodybuilder” MQB makeover, or if someone in its marketing department had a panic attack over the holidays and thought they’d need to remind everyone that women can still dig stereotypically macho-looking cars. It’s a good-looking vehicle and that should be enough to please just about anyone shopping within the segment.

The 2019 Audi Q3 will arrive in North America right before the summer. Official pricing hasn’t been announced, but last year’s model started at $32,900. We’re betting the new one will be a little more expensive but ballpark around $33,000. Though that will come up quite a bit depending on how much horsepower you want Audi to squeeze out of the 2.0-liter turbo. Anywhere between 184 and 236 horsepower is available. Europe also has access to a dual-clutch transmission while Americans are left with the standard eight-speed automatic.

[Images: Audi]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Dec 27, 2018

    My wife is a woman (have to clarify that since I am from Bay Area) and she likes Jaguar sedans and not new ones but retro classic ones made under Ford.

  • Jatz Jatz on Dec 28, 2018

    That engine bay gave me a eureka moment. Ever since forever I've adored body-color blue & green sheet metal surrounding the engine but with an ICE only a dedicated restorer could keep it clean, and never on a daily driver. But EVs would never foul such a compartment!

  • Lou_BC Collective bargaining provides workers with the ability to counter a rather one-sided relationship. Let them exercise their democratic right to vote. I found it interesting that Conservative leaders were against unionization. The fear there stems from unions preferring left leaning political parties. Wouldn't a "populist" party favour unionization?
  • Jrhurren I enjoyed this
  • Jeff Corey, Thanks again for this series on the Eldorado.
  • AZFelix If I ever buy a GM product, this will be the one.
  • IBx1 Everyone in the working class (if you’re not in the obscenely wealthy capital class and you perform work for money you’re working class) should unionize.