From £24,825
Hottest Q3 goes fast and, with its superb body control and quattro traction, remains competent

Our Verdict

Audi Q3
The Q3 is Audi's answer to the Evoque and BMW X1

The Audi Q3 is a desirable and capable contender that fails to engage its driver

28 October 2011

What is it?

The top-spec version of Audi’s compact soft-roader; driven in the UK for the first time. Petrol-engined variants of the Q3 will be greatly outnumbered by their diesel counterparts, and Audi expects the most powerful derivative to make up just five per cent of sales.

However, musclebound SUVs have always proven popular halo vehicles even if they fail to find buyers in large numbers. The allure is power and prestige, and to that end the current range-topper gets a 208bhp take on the 2.0-litre TFSI lump.

That’s sufficient to propel the Q3, via all four wheels, to 62mph in 6.9 seconds - making it quicker than comparable BMW X1 or Range Rover Evoque. Starting at £28,610 for the SE trim, it’s slightly cheaper too, but that’s before you begin ticking Audi’s lengthy options list, which includes several items - Drive Select, adaptive dampers - that are essential.

What’s it like?

Before we consider the specific attributes of the petrol engine, a word on the Q3 experience in the UK. Prospective buyers already enticed by another slickly packaged Audi affair will be pleased to hear that the model takes to potholes and manhole covers reasonably well.

There’s a perhaps a hint that once again the manufacturer has opted for a slightly over-firm setup, but it takes some seriously troubled tarmac for this thought to occur. Otherwise the Q3 saunters along in a quiet, unruffled kind of way - especially with comfort mode appointed on Audi’s Drive Select.

However, armed with the butch petrol engine, it’s hard not to constantly reach for the more aggressive Dynamic setting. As ever with the self-appointed ‘quick’ car of the range, poking the TFSI is practically obligatory, and flat out, the Q3 delivers the straight-line, linear oomph you’d expect from the figures.

Unfortunately, the added performance doesn’t necessarily equate to increased enjoyment of the product. Hooked up to Audi’s twin-clutch S Tronic ‘box, the gearshifts are breakneck, but the transmission has a habit of making powerplants characterless and sterile.

And those same descriptives could be applied to the Q3’s handling prowess. At moderate speeds the condensed SUV is precise and very easy to live with. Push on and the superb body control and quattro traction ensure that it remains competent - it just doesn’t become any more fun.

Should I buy one?

Perhaps. This particular Q3 largely achieves what Audi intended it to - namely, it goes fast - but there’s never any impression that the model deserves much recognition beyond its niche audience.

That’s because, like much of the manufacturer’s range, there isn’t a tremendous amount of reward to be had from torturing the TFSI aside from arriving at your destination marginally quicker. If that’s good enough for you then the premium may be justifiable, but we’d happily settle for the improved economy and lower price of the better-suited 175bhp 2.0-litre TDI.

Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI Quattro

Price: 28,610; Top speed: 143mph; 0-62mph: 6.9 seconds; Economy: 36.7mpg; Co2: 179g/km; Kerbweight: 1565kg; Engine type, cc: 1984cc turbocharged four-cylinder petrol; Power: 208bhp (5000rpm - 6200rpm); Torque: 221lb ft (1800rpm - 4900rpm); Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

Join the debate

Comments
13

28 October 2011

Maybe audi are finally getting the message about the suspension settings - if I was looking for this type of car it would have to be petrol due to my low mileage - its amazing how many dealers I speak to who say most customers come in for diesels - and then egt annoyed when the diesel goes wrong due to dpf filter and £1600 later the car is back on the road.

Although the government doesn't help with its CO2 tax regime.

I think this is a stylish car personally. Will appeal to the yummy mummys etc

28 October 2011

[quote gazza5]

Maybe audi are finally getting the message about the suspension settings - if I was looking for this type of car it would have to be petrol due to my low mileage - its amazing how many dealers I speak to who say most customers come in for diesels - and then egt annoyed when the diesel goes wrong due to dpf filter and £1600 later the car is back on the road.

Although the government doesn't help with its CO2 tax regime.

I think this is a stylish car personally. Will appeal to the yummy mummys etc

[/quote]

+1

On the whole though, another photo copy report with different pictures about an Audi.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

28 October 2011

If this ain't a cynical car then I don't know what is.

28 October 2011

Makes the Evoque ecoboost look like a bit of a joke at £10K more...before options.

29 October 2011

Why do Autocar road-testers only seem to rate a car as "good" if it performs well "when you torture it", "on the limit", and so on ? Most people buying a car do so for a range of much more prosaic reasons, surely these should be given equal billing? And proper assessment?

29 October 2011

Yet another pointless yummy mummy school run irrelevance.

30 October 2011

[quote gazza5]if I was looking for this type of car it would have to be petrol due to my low mileage -[/quote][quote gazza5] its amazing how many dealers I speak to who say most customers come in for diesels -[/quote]

And yet if DPF's were as unreliable as you claim then surely this forum would be full of people who actually own cars with them fitted having problems, not third hand moans from people who would not buy a diesel. Manufacturers would not be selling the majority of their cars fitted with diesel engines if customers did not prefer them.

The Co2 tax regime is directly related to the fuel consumption, in fact in the EU test they do not measure the fuel consumption at all in testing, they measure instead the carbon in the exhaust gasses to produce fuel consumption figures.

30 October 2011

[quote Autocar]The allure is power and prestige[/quote] Yes, sadly it is. You wouldn't buy something so ridiculous otherwise I guess.

  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

31 October 2011

[quote TegTypeR]On the whole though, another photo copy report with different pictures about an Audi[/quote]

Much like all the photo copy responses on the forum about any new Audi. Although I am surprised that there have been eight comments so far without a comment along the lines of 'Audi designers photocopying the Q5 drawings at 90%'.

31 October 2011

[quote ankaili]Why do Autocar road-testers only seem to rate a car as "good" if it performs well "when you torture it", "on the limit", and so on ? Most people buying a car do so for a range of much more prosaic reasons, surely these should be given equal billing? And proper assessment?[/quote] If you want that, buy whatcar or read their website.

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