Audi’s new Q3 is more practical, more generously equipped and, key to its evolution, more mature than its forebear thanks to the arrival of the youthful Q2.
Audi believes the second-generation crossover plays a different role to its predecessor because it is no longer the baby crossover of the family. We get the full story:
“The buyers of the first Q3 have grown up and so it has grown up too,” said Matthias Fink, exterior designer for the new car. “With the Q2 playing the role of the young one, we focused on getting the Q3’s design balance right so that now it looks more like an SUV.”
Nowhere is this shift more obvious than in the car’s exterior design, which has received several influences from the German car maker’s new premium SUV, the Q8, with slimmer LED headlights (top models get Matrix LEDs with adaptive beams), a larger front grille and butch shoulder lines creating a significant design contrast to the softer shapes featured on the first Q3.
Wheels & contrasts
Buyers can specify wheels of up to 20in in diameter (sizes start at 17in) and have their cars finished in more vibrant colours than before. Audi offers a contrasting paint finish for the lower section of the Q3 to create the illusion of a higher ride height, something designers say further adds to the SUV look.
Inside, there’s a familiar suite of Audi technology, but, as is the case in the recently launched A1, the Q3 inherits its systems from the class above. Even entry-level cars get a 10.25in instrument cluster. Top-spec models feature a 10.25in or optional 12.3in screen when Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is specified, bringing its most advanced natural voice command system and Google Earth maps.
In a bid to ‘family proof’ the new Q3, Audi has given it four USB ports, two in the front (one’s of the latest Type C) and two in the back. There’s also a 12V socket in the back. Entertainment is handled with Apple Carplay (it can be connected wirelessly with iPhones) and Android Auto, plus a Bang and Olufson Premium Sound System is offered to provide virtual 3D sound with 15 speakers rated at 680 watts.
Space has improved thanks to a stretched MQB platform that’s grown in length and width, while the boot features an adjustable floor and swallows up to 675 litres when the rear bench is slid forward (it can move forward and back by 150mm). Fold the 40:20:40 bench down and there’s space for 1525 litres. An electric tailgate is offered as an option with hands free use.
On the road
Like its larger siblings, the new Q3 comes available with adaptive damper technology, as well as a long list of driver assist systems. These include familiar cruise and park assist features, a 360-degree camera view and a proactive pedestrian detection system.
Audi will eventually supply a choice of five engines for the Q3, although not all are necessarily in all markets. The range will open with a 148bhp TFSI 35 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol, which will sit below two 2.0-litre petrols, TFSI 40 and 45, offering 187bhp and 227bhp respectively. For diesel markets, there are two 2.0 TDI options, named 35 and 40 producing 148bhp and 187bhp.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but the new, higher-specification Q3 is expected to be more expensive than the current car’s starting prices of £27,915 (UK), $32,900 (America), $34,900 (Canada), and $48,635 (Australia).
Expect the Q3 to be available in most major markets where the current model is sold. These include the UK, Europe, US, Australia, South Africa and India.
Click through to see the rest of the pictures of the new Audi Q3: