Despite dominating the market for some time, the SUV market continues to become even more popular amongst British motorists, and premium brands are capitalising on this trend.
With Jaguar and Volvo finding success with the E-Pace and XC40, Audi has had to catch up and revamp its own compact SUV – the Q3.
To move in-line with the most recent models from the brand, the new Q3 comes with a more angular design – while Audi’s latest tech is also fitted.
After the first generation proved to be a sales success for Audi, we get behind the wheel of the second iteration to see if it can do the same.
From the launch, Audi will only be offering the Q3 with petrol engines – but will be adding diesel options to the model in the near future. Under the bonnet of our test car was a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine that developed 148bhp and 250Nm of torque – labelled as the TFSI 35 under Audi’s new naming structure.
With that unit paired to a seven-speed automatic and front-wheel drive, Audi claims the Q3 can get from 0-60mph in nine seconds flat. Top speed is 128mph. At times this engine can feel a bit breathless when getting up to speed or overtaking on the motorway – but after that it settles down and becomes a competent cruiser.
Ride & Handling
Ride comfort at slower speeds can leave a little to be desired but get out on the open road and that falls away, allowing you to get comfortable on longer journeys. The S line model we tried came with sports suspension for a sharper overall experience.
The Q3 is well-behaved through the corners as lean is kept in check, meaning you corner quite flat despite the added height of the Q3’s body. The progressive steering adapts to the speed you’re travelling and feels appropriately weighted whatever pace you’re going.See available Q3 deals
Interior & Equipment
Improving from its predecessor, Audi has put the work in to ensure the cabin in this version is up to a high standard. Despite a couple harsher materials further down, most of the cabin is made up of soft-touch plastics and aluminium to give drivers a premium feel.
Storage space is also excellent, with the rear load space measuring 530 litres and users can pull the rear bench forwards to improve that slightly. But if you need more space, folding the rear seats flat allows for up to 1,525 litres of storage.
On the base Sport model, standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with daytime running lights, power-operated tailgate, dual-zone climate control, leather steering wheel, 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment setup with satellite navigation, the 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit display, Bluetooth and smartphone integration.
For the S line test car we drove, the Q3 also came with 19-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, S line-specific styling, privacy glass, sports seats and stainless steel pedals.
Audi also supplies the Q3 with multiple safety systems from the base level option, with pre-sense basic collision preparation system joined by automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, rear parking sensors, cruise control and side assist to help change lanes.
Prices for the new Q3 start from £30,770, for the Sport model with the 35 TFSI petrol engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Due to some additional extras, the Q3 we tried cost £37,565 – probably the most you need to pay for a Q3.
With the petrol engine fitted, the Q3 can achieve a claimed 47.9mpg and emit 134g/km CO2, which is quite reasonable for an SUV of this size.
The SUV segment the Q3 slots into is one that’s congested enough as it is, so with Audi refreshing and fully revamping the model to this standard can only be a good thing for the German brand. It feels like a much better product throughout than its predecessor and the new technology on-board brings it bang up to date. The petrol is definitely the engine we would choose as well, as it offers that extra punch to get you going.