IT'S possibly the typical family motorist's dream - a practical SUV with a Golf GTI engine.
Well, dreams occasionally come true. And this one has done just that... in the shape of the latest Audi Q3 in 45 TFSI guise.
Now with a bigger, bolder grille, body kit and more aggressive angular styling, beneath the bonnet is a 2.0-litre, 227bhp engine just like the one in the iconic Golf hot hatch.
Like the GTI, it comes with a fast-shifting seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox which serves up a great blend between punchy performance and easy driving when you are in traffic or pottering around town.
The new Q3, while bearing great similarity to the last version, is a shade bigger with more rear legroom and a slightly larger boot - although at 530 litres it's not the most capacious in its class.
As with most Ingolstadt products, the cabin is a pleasant place to be with high grade touch-friendly plastics, decent carpeting and easy-to read dials. There's a genuine impression of quality about the materials used with more than a little flair.
The general sombre grey and black hues are perked up with flashes of orange suede-like material which may not be to everone's taste, but do lift the interior.
Electrically adjustable front seats in Alcantara are comfortable and well shaped with plenty of support to hold you in place during spirited cornering. The squabs of both driver and passenger seats can be lengthened manually by sliding out the front cushion a few inches - very helpful on long journeys.
Seats in the rear split and fold and have a small but useful tray for oddments at either side.
I found the touchscreen over-sensitive, particular when in-putting sat nav instructions.
There's a definite GTI-like rasp from the exhausts under full throttle but this remains smooth and melodic throughout the rev range.
While the acceleration isn't quite as aggressive as the hot hatch, it's far more racy than most SUVs and the Q3, which has quattro four wheel drive, can be hustled confidently and securely through curves.
There's less feedback from the steering than you might hope for, but levels of adhesion are high and there's little to remind you in its dynamic behaviour that this is a high-rider. It largely goes where it is pointed with all four wheels firmly planted on the Tarmac.
Most of the time the seven-speed automatic gearbox copes perfectly with everyday driving, but occasionally - such as when joining a roundabout there can be a slight but irritating hesitation.
Steering wheel paddle allow you greater control and encourage a bit of fun... no bad thing in a sporty crossover.
When it comes to economy, understandably the gutsy petrol four cylinder can't match up to its brothers. My average of 33mpg was probably close to what most owners can expect.