The second-generation Audi Q3 is here and it’s worth more than a second look as its sharper, more chiselled lines and bold new face provide an appealing wrapping for an altogether more practical compact SUV.
The length has grown to 4.84m but more significantly, the wheelbase has also been extended to liberate markedly more rear room, while the cushion and three-way split backrest can be moved by up to 150mm. Minimum luggage capacity is now 530 litres, expandable.
The interior, with the exception of a few scratchy plastics low down, is beautifully executed and incorporates as standard, a 10.5-inch digital instrument cluster and 8.8-inch MMI touch display. A 12.3-inch virtual cockpit “plus” display can be ordered along with a 10.1-inch MMI display incorporating nav and additional functionality.
New paint colours and a choice of trim packages covering Standard, Advanced and S line derivatives make for more focused personalisation but be aware that the options list, albeit simplified, is still long and expensive.
The aforementioned three launch models are all powered by the familiar 110kW/250Nm 1.4 TFSI motor driving the front wheels through the ever-so-smooth and rapid S tronic dual-clutch gearbox. Engineers have clearly been at work on the refinement front as the engine is near-inaudible at idle and emits only a distant hum on the cruise while providing adequate thrust at all times. Expect more firepower from upcoming models.
A varied launch route took in lots of gravel which the Q3 handled with aplomb with the aid of a six-profile dynamic handling system set to “comfort.” In standard form, we suspect the Q3 will be set-up to ride on the firm side. Unlike some Audis of old, the steering was fluid and responsive but again may have been influenced by the variable drive modes optionally offered.
The new Q3 provides a compelling mix of sportiness and practicality blended with a premium feel encapsulated by a cosseting cabin and by industry-leading finishing detail evident in tight panel gaps and superb paint gloss. Form an orderly queue now – the second-gen Q3 is an appealing proposition, albeit you’ll pay for the privilege.
IN A NUTSHELL
Audi Q3 35 TFSI S tronic
Quality, practicality, refinement, sharper looks
Confusing touch screen, some hard plastics
ENGINE: 1395cc turbo petrol
POWER: 110kW @ 5 000 rpm, 250Nm @ 1 500 rpm
PERFORMANCE: 0-100km/h 9.2s, top speed 204 km/h
ECONOMY: 5.9l/100km claimed
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed S tronic
PRICE: R565 000 to R599 000