Tuesday 16th October 2018
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First drive: Audi Q3. Image by Audi.

First drive: Audi Q3
The all-new Audi Q3 re-establishes the nameplate among the SUV class leaders.

 



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Audi Q3

4 4 4 4 4

With an all-new design that accommodates better passenger and luggage space, the Audi Q3 sets a high standard in the premium SUV segment as it goes up against established rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz - and equally desirable newer competition like the Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Audi Q3 35 TFSI S line
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door SUV
Top speed: 128mph
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Power: 150hp at 5,000-6,000rpm
Torque: 250Nm at 1,500-3,500rpm
Boot space: 530-1,525 litres

What's this?

The 2018 Audi Q3 is the second generation of the compact SUV and is a substantial evolution from the model it replaces. To help create some more space in the range between it and the Q2 crossover, Audi has grown the Q3 in almost every dimension. Longer and wider, but a smidge lower, the car isn't lacking in presence and in the sportier S line specification it puts many of its competitors in the shade from an aesthetic standpoint.

The Q3's larger dimensions have a positive benefit to the sense of space inside. A clean dashboard design features a black panel stretching across from the driver's door to the edge of the centre console. It contains a 10.1-inch touchscreen display that, pleasingly, sits flush. All Q3 models will get a digital instrument cluster, which Audi refers to as its Virtual Cockpit. The standard item is a 10.25-inch unit, though a larger 12.3-inch display is optionally available.

Moving away from the rotary controller of past Audi models, there is now more room between the front seats. Two generously sized cupholders and an electronic parking brake fill the space well and further forward ahead the gear selector is a small cubby that contains a wireless charging pad on most models.

In the rear, the level of passenger space is decent, but the middle passenger does lose out slightly with foot space due to the bulky transmission tunnel. Nonetheless, the rear seat bench can slide back and forward by up to 150mm, to the benefit of either passenger legroom or boot space. Speaking of which, the standard boot measures in at 530 litres, but can increase to 675 litres with the rear seats slid fully forward. The 40/20/40 split folding seat backs add more to the car's versatility and when you fold all down the overall boot volume is 1,525 litres.

How does it drive?

Audi will offer both diesel and petrol engines in the Q3, but it is the latter, in particular, the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit reviewed here, that should appeal to the majority of buyers. The 35 TFSI designation identifies it as the 150hp version, whereas the more powerful 190hp version wears the 40 TFSI badge.

Power delivery is smooth with a crispness to the engine that makes it ideal for city and town driving. The seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission ensures that the engine is kept in the optimal area of the rev range most of the time, though it does tend to hurry through the gears to higher ones in a bid to be more efficient. For the most part, it is refined when cruising and, on part-throttle, the Cylinder-on-Demand technology shuts off the middle two cylinders to reduce fuel consumption. Even drivers with the keenest senses will struggle to notice when this system is working. At higher motorway speed and on steeper inclines the 150hp engine can start to feel a bit underpowered, but overall it delivers adequate performance for most.

The ride quality for an SUV, even by Audi standards, is excellent. There is minimal body roll in bends and, even with just front-wheel drive in this version, the Q3 never seems to have issue finding traction. It's worth noting that there are three different suspension setups available, with standard Sport models featuring a basic passive arrangement and sportier S line cars receiving a firmer setup. Optionally, and standard on the range-topping Q3 Vorsprung, is the adaptive damper setup, which links in with the Drive Select to ensure the suspension is best suited to the selected driving mode.

Verdict

The Audi Q3 looks and feels every bit the premium SUV that it is and, while it does carry a higher price than some others in the segment, you do see and feel where your money is going. It may not be the most exciting car to drive in this 35 TFSI guise, but as an all-rounder, it performs admirably and with plenty of refinement makes it one of the more desirable cars in what is a packed market.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Powertrain


Dave Humphreys - 24 Sep 2018









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2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.

2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.2019 Audi Q3. Image by Audi.








 

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