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.