The latest and updated incarnations of Audi compact SUVs the Q3 and the RS Q3 feature an even sharper new look, more equipment and a more efficient EU6-compliant engine range; ready for the accolades and awards that will surely be heading their way.
When it came to reworking the already highly successful Audi Q3, the team were tasked with looking at styling, safety, efficiency, equipment and power - and with the latest versions of the car available to order in early December with delivery in early 2015, there’s no doubt at all that the fruit of their labours has ripened into a juicy prospect.
With all models of the redesigned Audi Q3, from the SE to the top flight S line plus specification, just by looking at the car you can see the premium character that has been instilled into an already strong product. The design, coupe like in its lines with the characteristic wrap-around tailgate, has been enhanced by the addition of a striking new 3D effect Singleframe grille, revised bumpers and new look alloy wheels, complete with a standard full body-colour paint finish throughout.
Revised headlights now feature xenon bulbs and LED daytime running lights as standard in SE versions, while at the rear you can find reworked LED tail lights (with S line and S line plus levels upgrading to all-weather LED headlights and dynamic ‘scrolling’ rear indicators which illuminate sequentially within two-tenths of a second from the inside out in the direction the driver intends to turn.)
And when it comes to the business end of the car, power is supplied by the two TDI clean diesel and three TFSI engines that are at the very heart of the first wave of new Q3 models, and not only boast higher power outputs and improved fuel economy, but also CO2 reductions of as much as 17% and compliance with EU6 emissions regulations.
The Glory in the Power
Shining out brightly as the twinkle twinkle of the new line-up is the 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine with Cylinder-on-Demand technology which first made it appearance on the Audi A1 and A3 ranges, but now makes a stunning debut on the Audi Q3. Utilising the option of either manual or S tronic twin-clutch automatic transmission to produce 150PS, it gives the exclusively front-wheel-driven Q3 1.4 TFSI a 0-62mph sprint time of as little as 8.9 seconds (S tronic) but manages to maintain excellent combined cycle test fuel economy of up to 50.4mpg (under manual control.)
Moving on up within the petrol sector we find a 2.0-litre TFSI unit with power increased up to 180PS (from 170PS in the outgoing Q3) which again can be linked to either manual or S tronic transmission and is allied to quattro all-wheel-drive without exception.
Top of the petrol tree we find the 2.5-litre five-cylinder TFSI which is available for the RS Q3 only. Also offering impressive fuel economy figures (despite its size) of 32.8mpg, the upgrade in power to 340PS from 300PS has helped it drop the 0-62mph figure by 0.4 seconds to 4.8 seconds.
Under the diesel umbrella come two four-cylinder TDIs with outputs of 150PS (up from the previous Q3 140PS), and 184PS, up from 177PS.
The 2.0-litre 150DPS TDI SE with 150PS is the flag-waving standard bearer for the TDI versions with its manual transmission and 17”alloy wheels that has managed to boost its MPG by 7% in comparison to the outgoing Q3 to 61.4mpg and loses 18g/km from its CO2 total to give emissions of just 119g/km. The comparable 18” alloy-wheeled S line version is pretty comparable with that too with 60.1mpg and 122g/km. They both also record 0-62mph times that are 0.3 seconds quicker than their predecessor at 9.6 seconds.
The 2.0-litre 150PS TDI engine can work with either manual or S tronic transmission and is either front-wheel drive or four-wheel (via the quattro system) with the 184PS version also offering two transmission options, but it deploys its heightened power and torque solely via quattro drive.
Comfort in the sporting ability
The redesigned Audi Q3 is, of course a comfort waiting to be enjoyed and, thanks to the updated chassis, also combines agile handling with supreme safety. Now fitted as standard is the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system which allows the driver to adjust key technology modules, including the optional damper control system, to suit his or her personal preferences.
There is room inside, in comfort, for up to five adults, with the front two enjoying sports seats with four-way electric lumbar support as standard – and the whole feel of the interior is made that much more sporty and welcoming with the new three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and additional aluminium effect detailing throughout. In S line versions and above, you have the addition of powered tailgate operation to what is already a pretty comprehensive specification, and this gives access to an impressive luggage capacity of up to 420 litres with seats up and 1,325 litres with seats folded. There is even a new retractable luggage cover installed to help keep those personal belongings well hidden.
In all models with the Audi Q3 passengers and drivers will benefit from the dual-zone climate control, a Concert audio system with 6.5-inch manually retractable colour display screen, Bluetooth interface, Audi Music Interface iPod connection and light and rain sensors. With the S Line upgrade, you also get the LED headlights, new five-spoke design 18” alloy wheels and exterior and interior styling enhancements, cloth and leather combination upholstery for the sports seats and the option to specify S line sports suspension in place of the standard set-up at no cost.
There’s a pretty long list of features on the Audi Q3, and the S line plus specification adds larger 19” alloy wheels, privacy glass and standard metallic paint to the outside, and SD card-based navigation, perforated leather and Alcantara combination upholstery, cruise control and the Audi parking system plus with acoustic and visual guidance to the inside.
When it comes to both safety and comfort, there’s also a great set of options available like Audi side assist, Audi active lane assist and a camera-based traffic sign recognition system shows speed limit signs as graphics in the driver information system display, as well as a technology package that incorporates MMI navigation plus with its hard disc-based mapping and a colour Driver’s Information System.
The Audi RS Q3
The RS Q3 compact performance SUV has been updated in line with the rest of the range, with its 2.5-litre, five cylinder engine now producing 340PS and 450 Nm of torque, accelerating from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds to an electronically restricted top speed of 155mph and even satisfying the Euro 6 standard.
The standard seven speed S tronic transmission has been refined to enable faster gear changes (and there are 7 available!); RS sports suspension is standard; there are 20” alloy wheels; the body detailing is RS-specific (befitting the status of the first ever Audi SUV to wear the RS badge); and there’s a high-gloss black honeycomb front grille, RS bumpers, a quattro emblem in the air intake and a distinctive rear diffuser insert flanked by a large elliptical tailpipe, a roof spoiler, roof rails in matt aluminium and special door sill plates and door trim strips to also add emphasis to what is really a special car.
Inside, the sports seats are upholstered in Fine Nappa leather with contrast stitching, red needles sweep across grey dials in the instrument cluster and there is also a Driver’s Information System offering a special RS menu with lap timer, oil temperature and boost pressure displays to let the driver know that they are inside one hell of a car.
But you know that anyway!