Prototypes of the second-generation Q3 have been spotted testing; it rivals the BMW X1
18 January 2018

Audi will put its second-generation Q3 on sale this July so in the run-up to the car's market launch, engineers are finalising its settings in the cold climates of Scandinavia.

Ingolstadt has sent engineers to its north European base to examine the future BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 rival's new components in the Arctic Circle's extreme conditions. This has offered our photographers a chance to capture it out in the open, showing the model's sharpened-up design with thin camouflaging.

The latest sighting shows the car with its predecessor, highlighting the differences. Most obvious is the new car's lighting motifs, which feature angular day running lights up front and a straked design at the rear.

Sporting new underpinnings, a roomier interior and contemporary electric architecture supporting many of Audi’s latest driver assistant systems, the new Q3 has been comprehensively re-engineered in a joint Volkswagen Group programme also encompassing the latest VW Tiguan, new Skoda Kodiaq and new Seat Ateca, among other upcoming models.

Dimensionally, the new Q3 has grown in order to distance itself from its cheaper sibling, the Q2. Nothing is official yet, although sources suggest its length extends to around 4450mm and width beyond 1860mm - increases of 60mm and 30mm respectively.

By comparison, the Q2 measures 4190mm in length and 1790mm in width, while the recently launched second-generation Q5 runs to 4660mm in length and 1890mm in width.   

Based on VW Group’s widely used MQB (Modularen Querbau – modular transverse) platform architecture, the new Q3 is claimed to have shed up to 50kg over today’s model, which sits on older PQ35 underpinnings dating back to the second-generation A3 launched in 2003. This should bring the planned front-wheel-drive entry-level model, which is set to use a 128bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, down to less than 1350kg despite the increase in size.

As well as being lighter, the MQB architecture also provides the new Q3 with added structural integrity. Insiders cite a significant improvement in both static and dynamic rigidity as being crucial to enhancements in the isolation of vibrations while contributing to lower overall noise levels – factors that promise to make it a more adept long-distance proposition.

The car receives more distinctive styling than today’s six-year-old model, with a prominent eight-corner single-frame grille, thin angular headlights with LED graphics and a heavily structured bumper assembly dominating its front end.

Further back, there are larger wheelhouses, a more pronounced wheel arch flaring, door-mounted mirrors and a more defined shoulder line along the flanks. A longer wheelbase, which is said to have grown by 50mm to 2650mm, also sees the adoption of slightly longer doors. At the rear, the new Q3 appears to eschew the clamshell-style tailgate for a simpler (and cheaper to produce) aperture.  

Inside, the 2018 Q3 receives a newly designed interior with a dashboard heavily influenced by that already seen in the latest A3. With a longer wheelbase liberating rear seat leg room and added width providing greater front and rear shoulder room, the car is described as being significantly more spacious than its predecessor. A slightly longer rear overhang is also claimed to provide an added 20 litres of luggage capacity to reach 440 litres.

Among the more upmarket features available for the new Q3 will be Audi’s Vitual Cockpit display with HD graphics, a head-up display unit, a 9.2in touchscreen infotainment system, inductive smartphone charging and a full suite of connectivity functions supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The new Q3 will offer a variety of driveline combinations, including front-wheel and four-wheel drive in combination with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic dual-clutch gearbox.

The headline engine will be Audi’s recently revamped turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol unit developing up to 395bhp. It will be supported by an S model running a detuned version of the same engine at around 335bhp.

Other petrol engines will include a new turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit. It joins the Q3 line-up as a replacement for the turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, likely offering two states of tune at 128bhp and 148bhp. Also planned, although not expected to feature in every market, is an updated version of Audi’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine delivering 248bhp.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of diesel, Audi is sticking to plans to launch the new Q3 with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail engine in up to three states of tune: 148bhp, 187bhp and 237bhp. All will feature a SCR filter and AdBlue injection for Euro 6 emission compatibility.  

Also under development, though unlikely to be seen at launch, is a plug-in hybrid version that will combine the turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor. It will be an updated version of VW Group’s modular plug-in hybrid system, which is claimed to provide a combined output of more than 200bhp and an electric range of up to 31 miles at a speed of up to 81mph.

Ingolstadt sources involved in the engineering of the new car also confirm that Audi is working on a pure electric version of the second-generation Q3 as part of plans to meet China’s new energy vehicle regulations. The secret front-wheel-drive Q3 e-tron, conceived to compete against BMW and Brilliance’s Zinoro 60H, is likely to run a similar driveline system to the VW e-Golf, with a 134bhp electric motor and 35.8kWh lithium-ion battery providing an all-electric range of up to 186 miles between recharging.

More content:

Read our Q3 review here

Audi Q5 review 

Our Audi reviews

Our Verdict

The Audi Q3 is a desirable and capable contender that fails to engage its driver, which ultimately, leaves it trailing the BMW X1 and the Range Rover Evoque

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Comments
9

JJ

30 August 2017

...(and weigh) less than 1350kg..."

Wow!

That's some power-to-weight ratio

Where do I sign up for one of these?

30 August 2017
JJ wrote:

...(and weigh) less than 1350kg..."

Wow!

That's some power-to-weight ratio

Where do I sign up for one of these?

It's a bit underpowered. I'd want at least 1400bhp for a small-ish SUV.

30 August 2017

Bugatti Verron eat your heart out!!!!

30 August 2017

... 1280bhp from 1.5 litres might be a bit peaky.

Maybe they should call NewBernie and propose it as a customer F1 engine?

30 August 2017

The most interesting thing from their marketing pho*cough* leak is discussion of a typo in the article.

20 December 2017

The car receives more distinctive styling than today’s six-year-old model, with a prominent eight-corner single-frame grille, thin angular headlights with LED graphics and a heavily structured bumper assembly dominating its front end.

...So just the same as EVERY other Audi then?

20 December 2017

Do most manufacturers not have a corporate look?

20 December 2017

All any potential customer - sorry, PCP slave - will be interested in is whether it is available in white with black alloys

20 December 2017

XLR8 - dull compared to what? An Astra or an i30? Maybe an Alfa Gulietta isn't dull but it isn't very good. Wife has had a 2013 A3 from new and no faults, good (not BMW great but still good) handling. Tried it against a 1 Series and it's significantly better than that too. I really don't know what you expect. Would it be more interesting if it broke down more often or had it's radiator grill on the roof or something?

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