The second-generation Audi Q3 compact SUV is launching in a marketplace a world away from the one the original version entered in 2011.
Then, the Q3 was one of a rare breed. Now that the segment has exploded, not only does the Q3 now have a plethora of rivals – the Volvo XC40, Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz GLA for starters - but also its own baby SUV sibling.
The Q2, launched in 2016, replaces the Q3 as the marque’s entry-level SUV, and Audi naturally wants plenty of differentiation between the two. As a result, gone is the first-generation bulbous crossover and in its place is a chiselled vehicle looking to play a more serious SUV game, at least in styling terms.
It's heavily inspired by the new, flagship Q8. It’s also larger than its predecessor, which again gives more breathing room between it and the Q2 and, of course, promises to also improve interior space, something that was criticised in the first generation, particularly in the rear seats.
That makes it the longest in the segment at 4485mm, 97mm longer than the outgoing car and 46mm longer than the BMW X1. The Audi's wheelbase has also grown by 78mm to 2681mm which is identical to the Jaguar E-Pace’s, but not class-leading.
Understanding the Q3 line-up
The other major changes to the car relate to technology and driver assistance systems, bring the Q3 up-to-date with its newest siblings, including the range-topping Q8 SUV.
What’s most notable about the new Q3 is its relative good value for money. The entry-level Sport trim in 1.5-litre 35 TFSI guise starts from just under £31,000 and has a plethora of decent features thrown in. For starters, it has LED lights, the MMI Navigation plus infotainement system, 10.2in Virtual Cockpit screen, power-operated tailgate, rear parking sensors, cruise control and lane departure warning.
There are two more trims, S-Line and Vorsprung, with S-Line expected to be the biggest seller.
From launch, there will be three TFSI petrol engines and one diesel engine. The most popular engine will be the 1.5-litre TFSI with 148bhp and 184lb ft, badged 35 TFSI and driven here, followed by the 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp and 251lb ft, badged 35 TDI. A second diesel with 187bhp will arrive later. All versions will be available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission and either front-wheel drive or quattro all-wheel drive.