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More potent petrol engine shared with the Golf GTI gives Audi’s second-generation compact SUV welcome added pace

Our Verdict

Audi Q3 2018 review - hero front

Second-generation Q3 remains a good car but is rough around the edges when it comes to engine and gearbox

Tom Morgan, deputy digital editor
14 March 2019

What is it?

As refined and versatile as the new Audi Q3 was when we first drove it last year, its entry-grade petrol engine felt at odds with its newly gained premium ethos.

Here was a car that had grown in size to make room in Audi’s burgeoning range for the Q2 and in the process gained a tech-focused interior partly distilled from the A8 limousine. And yet it was saddled with a 1.5-litre turbo four-pot that only just felt up to the task.

The new 45 TFSI aims to set that right, with the same 2.0-litre turbo engine that powers a multitude of other Volkswagen Group models, including the venerable Volkswagen Golf GTI. Tuned here to deliver 227bhp and 258lb ft, it's partnered with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive. The combination should give the Q3 more of an edge over the increasing list of premium ‘soft-roader’ SUVs, which includes the Volvo XC40, BMW X2 and new Range Rover Evoque.

The 45 TFSI is available in range-topping Vorsprung edition or the S line trim tested here, which gets you 19in alloy wheels, a sportier bodykit and lowered suspension, augmented in our test car by optional adaptive dampers. It retains the expansive and well-appointed interior of the base Q3, complete with digital instrument display and sizeable central infotainment screen.

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What's it like?

The 45 TFSI is far more confidence-inspiring than the 35 TFSI when you go searching for pace with your right foot, thanks to a four-cylinder engine that’s keener to rev and able to deliver its power with far greater urgency. It manages the 0-62mph sprint in a healthy 6.3sec, making for decidedly brisker progress, with significant shove delivered above 3000rpm.

Yet it’s still perfectly relaxed at cruising speeds, aided by electronically controlled dampers that deliver a fluent and relaxed ride over smooth surfaces but don’t make you feel entirely disconnected from the Tarmac. Less forgiving roads can still upset that balance, though, with the large wheels transferring potholes more noticeably inside.

Dynamic driving mode can’t completely eliminate that familiar SUV body roll, but it does help the car hunker down and deliver a consistent, if not quite engaging, ride. There’s always an abundance of grip, which may not lend the Q3 much in the way of driver appeal but does let you carry an impressive rate of speed through corners. The handling is largely calculated and predictable, with quick and accurate steering that doesn’t improve as the various driving modes add more artificial weight to proceedings.

The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox can be somewhat hesitant to change its own cogs, regardless of the currently selected driving mode, and is keen to shift up in the more relaxed modes so as to achieve respectable fuel economy. Switch into manual mode and changes are much more reactive, with the wheel-mounted paddles responding quickly to your inputs and letting you use significantly more of the rev range.

The driving position suits both styles: the S line sports seats allow for a low-slung angle if you want to feel involved or a taller, more relaxed position when you don’t. The additional space makes it more suited to family transport than the outgoing model, with a useful 530 litres of split-level boot space.

It’s the upgraded dashboard that gives the Q3 its more premium disposition, with the familiar rotary dial ditched in favour of a touchscreen. A small volume dial is the solitary physical infotainment control left on the centre console, but that’s rarely a problem, thanks to useful shortcut buttons on the flat-bottomed steering wheel and a digital instrument display that puts all the information you need within your line of sight.

Should I buy one?

A welcome injection of extra power brings the Q3 more in line with the lofty expectations placed on it by the introduction of the Q2 and Audi’s repositioning of it as a more premium offering.

It remains as versatile and refined as the entry-grade car, but now that it no longer wants for extra pace, it's far better rounded. You no longer have to work as hard to make rapid progress, and journeys of all lengths are made more enjoyable as a result.

Audi’s familiar, almost clinically reassured handling prevents the car from becoming outright entertaining, so the X2 still offers a more dynamic driving experience. But in the absence of any S or RS-designated alternatives, the 45 TFSI is comfortably the most complete Q3 yet.

Audi Q3 TFSI 45 quattro S line S tronic specification

Where Kent, UK Price £47,555 (as tested) On sale Now Engine 4 cyls, 1984cc, turbocharged, petrol Power 227bhp at 5000-6700rpm Torque 258lb ft at 1500-4400rpm Gearbox seven-speed dual-clutch automatic Kerb weight 1620kg Top speed 144mph 0-62mph 6.3sec Fuel economy tbc CO2 tbc Rivals Volvo XC40, BMW X2

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Comments
19

14 March 2019

I have visit 1st time on your website and I really like all the information that you have put on your blog post. Thanks for putting up great content on your site.

14 March 2019

What an astounding price to a Tiguan!

14 March 2019

Anyway, that particular car is £20k more than the base version.

It's not so much there's a better car out there in the same segment, costing the same, with the same performance and level of equipment it's the fact the fast SUV has become an oxymoron of itself.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

14 March 2019
CarNut170 wrote:

What an astounding price to a Tiguan!

Very true. And it's not as if the Q3 is reliable or very good either while it doesn't feel like a premium product too unlike, say, the XC40, Lexus UX or E-Pace for example, feeling and looking cheap and tacky inside and out. Even the Tiguan is poor and overpriced for what it is. Better off going for the Ateca or Karoq for a VW Group offering which, while sharing the same platform as the Q3 and Tiguan are infinitely better than those 2 while benefiting from better quality due to Skoda and SEAT's higher quality standards.

14 March 2019
Roadster wrote:

CarNut170 wrote:

What an astounding price to a Tiguan!

Very true. And it's not as if the Q3 is reliable or very good either while it doesn't feel like a premium product too unlike, say, the XC40, Lexus UX or E-Pace for example, feeling and looking cheap and tacky inside and out. Even the Tiguan is poor and overpriced for what it is. Better off going for the Ateca or Karoq for a VW Group offering which, while sharing the same platform as the Q3 and Tiguan are infinitely better than those 2 while benefiting from better quality due to Skoda and SEAT's higher quality standards.

crappy comments

Actually a really nice car, rich interior and substantial exterior, matches well up to the VW touraeg more than the tiguan. SOme would says its overpriced. ITS NOT. Looks a very prominent car.

14 March 2019
pickupman wrote:

crappy comments

Actually a really nice car, rich interior and substantial exterior, matches well up to the VW touraeg more than the tiguan. SOme would says its overpriced. ITS NOT. Looks a very prominent car.

Have you actually driven one, the interior is full of hard cheap plastics, there is virtually no padding whatsover on the door cards, the single on/off volume switch plonked in the centre console looks like an after thought and totally out of place, and the one in the article is finished in a lovely shade of British Gas van blue, its not just overpriced, its an overpriced joke bought by sheeple.

18 March 2019
Roadster wrote:

Very true. And it's not as if the Q3 is reliable or very good either while it doesn't feel like a premium product too unlike, say, the XC40, Lexus UX or E-Pace for example, feeling and looking cheap and tacky inside and out. Even the Tiguan is poor and overpriced for what it is. Better off going for the Ateca or Karoq for a VW Group offering which, while sharing the same platform as the Q3 and Tiguan are infinitely better than those 2 while benefiting from better quality due to Skoda and SEAT's higher quality standards.

What planet do you live on?! In what possible world is the E-Pace better built? They can't even get panel gaps right, and we all know JLR stuff is unreliable. They are also unrefined and corse by comparison. The interior quality (switchgear, infotainment etc) is all laughable as well. No wonder they are in trouble (they can blame the Chinese market all they like - its a crap product that seemlingly nobody wants except yourself, Jonboy and citytiger)

14 March 2019
CarNut170 wrote:

What an astounding price to a Tiguan!

 

£47.5k is just an insane amount of money for one of these. 

If you wanted an Audi SUV with this engine, wouldn’t you just buy a Q5? The Q3 is surely pointless unless it’s a lot cheaper.

14 March 2019

Not the best spec... but is well priced and the interior is excellant.

dw04

14 March 2019

Best One is Audi Q3........

 

regards,

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