Fifty-five Audi Club Golden Gate members got a chance to visit the Audi of America Livermore technical training center. This fun day started with a breakfast event in Audi Stevens Creek’s spotless service area. Audi Stevens Creek offers free track inspection to Audi Club North America members. After breakfast, the group left for a nice drive to the Audi Livermore training center.
After about a two-hour drive through a hilly and scenic route, we all reassembled at the center. The center is located in an unassuming business park in Livermore. As a matter of fact, it was not easy to spot the center as it is tucked in the middle of nondescript buildings and warehouses.
After a delectable lunch sponsored by Audi After Sales Care, we learned the history of the training center. Audi had its first center, a smaller one, in Pleasanton from the early seventies to the mid-nineties when the center was moved to this bigger facility. Every year, the center is getting refreshed with the newest technologies and equipment. Originally, the training instructors used paper and microfilm. Today, they use iPads; computer based training materials, and the latest high tech test equipment.
Audi has four levels of certification. When a dealership employee starts, they are required to attend a few basic classes. Then over the years, they will accumulate classes via on-line training and self-study programs. Everyone is working up the ladder of certification to achieve Master Guild status.
The silver Q3 we had for the weekend had panoramic moon roof, MMI with navigation, blind spot detector, and driving dynamic program on the top of the standard features that you expect from an Audi. Our first task was to install the baby car seat in the Q3. Despite the compact size of Q3, the car seat fitted nicely in the middle of the back seat. There was ample room on both sides of the car seat.
I had very little expectation on the driving dynamic of the Q3 SUV. But to my surprise, I had a lot of fun driving on the highway to San Francisco. The 2.0 liter 4-cylinder 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft torque provided just enough tingling sensation on acceleration. We do not know yet how to bend the law of physics the way Jedi master Yoda can. So we did notice the effect of the higher center of gravity during the spirited carving of highway exit cloverleaf. But because the Q3 chassis uses Aluminum and high-strength steel to maximize chassis rigidity, and this car was equipped with quattro system, we still were enjoying the centrifugal force during our highway exit with confidence.
San Francisco city roads have abundant potholes and uneven patches. The city is major hauling the over-100 years sewer system. On the top of that, the city is building one new subway line. So, there are lots of unearthing and burying throughout the city. Driving Q3 through these pimpled roads was fun because we no longer had to worry about the low ground clearance. The suspension was firm on fast turns, but on bumps it was quite comfortable.