Best selling Audi Q3

better than ever

Audi Q3, 2019, nose
Audi Q3, 2019, front
Audi Q3, 2019, side
Audi Q3, 2019, rear
Audi Q3, 2019, rear armrest
Audi Q3, 2019, rear seats
Audi Q3, 2019, virtual instrument panel
Audi Q3, 2019, interior
Audi Q3, 2019, boot

THE compact Audi Q3 SUV remains the best selling Q model on these shores since its launch seven years ago.

Now the second generation version is here and much of its new looks and styling is down to an Englishman.

Matt Baggeley has spent the past four years honing this latest Q3 to give it a fresher appearance with more distinctive styling at both the front and rear ends, with loads of new technology on board, some pinched from the big Q8 model.

"We wanted to preserve the character of the SUV, keeping the balance but making it look distinctively different from the first generation car," he told me. "The aim was to give it more presence with more aggressive styling cues, such as on the new front grille, and I feel it's now more grown up."

This new Q3, which is 97mm longer, 18mm wider and with a 77mm wider wheelbase than before, has an all round bolder look with much better front and tailgate lights design and a noticeably more upright hatchback shape at the back, and not slanting styling as previously.

The bigger measurements have been fully utilised in the cabin which is now much roomier with more head, leg and elbow room in both front and rear seats, making it a genuine five adult seater.

Available in three trims - Sport, S Line and Vorsprung - the new Q3 has a much nicer interior too with the smart three-dimensional fascia's sweeping interior lines, lots of chrome trim finish and soft plastic trim.

The sport-styled front seats provide good, all round lumbar support while the rear seats have a sliding facility offering 150mm of adjustment.

Boot capacity is now up to 530 litres, increasing to 1,525 litres with the rear seats folded down and easily accessible thanks to an electrically powered tailgate.

For the driver there's all today's usual connectivity, from smart infotainment with a 10.1-inch touchscreen to Audi's now traditional virtual cockpit, sat nav, lane departure warning and much more.

As for engines, the most interesting is a new turbocharged 1.5-litre 148bhp TFSI petrol engine with a cylinder on demand system which temporarily switches off two cylinders at low speed. It is coupled with a seven-speed, twin-clutch S tronic automatic transmission driving the front wheels.

The CoD set up helps improve fuel consumption and Audi claims there's no noticeable difference in passenger comfort between two and four cylinder working and that most drivers will not be able to detect the change in terms of gear, engine or road speed.

Early in 2019 also on offer will be two more petrol engines - a Q3 40 TFSI 2.0-litre 187bhp and a Q3 45 2.0-litre 227bhp, both with seven-speed S tronic transmission and quattro drive.

Over in the diesel camp, there will be a pair of oil burners in the shape of a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with either 148bhp or 187bhp.

On a first drive with the 35 TFSI S line this 148bhp new engine is really impressive with good, low down torque and ample oomph for that all-important mid range overtaking, while the seven-speed automatic gearbox has a decent pace (and quiet) kickdown on acceleration and offers good response at all speeds.

Sitting on 18-inch wheels it's perhap not as sporty a drive as some drivers would like - those drivers will obviously need to pay more and opt for the 187bhp or 227bhp output engines - but the 148bhp version is sprightly enough.

The car's ride and handling on 19-inch wheels (there is also the option of 18 or 20-inch wheels) is decent enough and copes well even on some of the now all too common dodgy road surfaces encountered on this first drive.

The ride is firm with good road grip, noticeably too when cornering at speed round twisty country lanes, and overall the 35 TFSI S line provides a rewarding drive. Passengers will find it far more comfortable than its predecessor as it's refined and quiet on the open road where it comes into its element as a long distance cruiser.

In terms of fuel consumption the car averaged a decent 44.1mpg and can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in around nine seconds, but it's that mid range acceleration which is key to its impressive performance.

Officially it is rated at 48/.7mpg on 18-inch wheels with an emissions figure of 131g/km. Top speed is 128mph with a 0 to 60 acceleration of 9.2 seconds.

The mid-trimmed S line, which comes in at £34,150 with the 148bhp engine, naturally has a few extras fitted as standard over the entry-level Sport level (prices here start at £30,770), such as sport suspension, privacy glass, ambient interior lighting, three-spoke leather multi-function steering wheel, plus plenty of S badging and stitching.

This new Q3 35 TFSI stacks up well against immediate opposition that includes the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 and Volvo XC40 T3 Momentum when taking into account asking price, standard on-board features, performance and cost of ownership.

As for residual values it also holds up well according to CAP Gold Book, retaining 44 per cent of its value over three years/60,000 miles and likewise on running costs; they work it out at 42.2p per mile over the same period.

To sum up, subtle but significant changes to the Q3 and a wide choice of engines look set to continue its title as Audi's best-selling Q car.

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