The new generation Audi Q3 is the underdog that we’ve been waiting for in the luxury SUV market – loaded with tech, space and style. FACT takes a seat in the vivacious blue Audi Q3 – an enhanced, grown-up vehicle, which we soon learn makes for a solid daily drive.
The all-new Audi Q3 can be described in many words; striking, versatile, innovative and, for a compact SUV, rather captivating. The premium SUV has capacities that any Audi enthusiast and motoring aficionado will appreciate. As soon as you cast eyes on the car, its sleek and sporty octagonal design makes a classy yet bold statement: “I mean serious business” is what we imagine it would say, if cars could talk.
It has a single-frame grille, slick LED running lights, large air inlets and strong muscles over the wheel arches, making this an Audi that has been well sculpted for a sharper appearance. The compact SUV has also grown in virtually all dimensions from its predecessor; it is 4,484 millimeters long, 1,849 millimeters wide and 1,585 millimeters high. Larger and more mature, the car has grown 3.8 inches in length, 0.7 inch in width and 1.5 inches in height, being blessed with a much more attractive and dynamic design.
If you’re someone who likes to take short road trips or pack up the family for a weekend away, the Audi Q3 comes with drastically improved room. Its wheelbase, which has been stretched by 77 millimeters, offers tons of space. At the same time the Q3 is extremely versatile – thanks to the adjustable rear seats and height-adjustable loading floor along with numerous storage compartments. Depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests, the luggage compartment capacity is between 530 and 1,525 litres. For shopping trips, cargo space behind the rear seats grows from 16.7 cubic feet in the old Q3 to a more usable 23.7. When more space is needed, folding the second-row seats down bumps real estate to 48 cubic feet that we fully utilised during a few grocery and supply runs to Carrefour and a number of malls. We found the loading and off-loading of luggage to be smooth and functional. In fact, for its neat, compact size, the Audi Q3 is slightly deceiving as to how spacious it is on the inside – a great and much-welcomed surprise. Rest assured, it’s not just baggage that gets a comfy seat, remember the Q3’s upsized dimensions? They really pay off inside the car with the front and rear areas being sufficiently spacious for passengers too.
The Q3’s interior itself is also significantly upgraded, with a fresh dash layout that is anything but boring. It’s clean and intuitive with clearly marked switchgear, and with quality materials like brushed aluminium and matte wood trim tastefully sprinkled throughout. Our tester’s optional Sport interior package adds more supportive seats, whilst it’s in the details that we rejoice; decorative insert in silver aluminium and scuff plates with aluminium inserts, illuminated with the “S” logo – they all add that quality Audi finish to a vehicle that continues to impress the more we drive it around. There is also a standard panoramic roof which ensures that the cabin is kept light and airy, whenever you wish it to be.
Combining good all-round visibility with a sporty seating position, the new Q3 offers the same comfort as the next larger vehicle category. When it comes to tech, you needn’t worry as the Audi Q3 is kitted out with the best. The operating and display concept of the premium SUV has been overhauled from the ground up, with even the entry-level model boasting a digital instrument cluster with smartphone interface allowing Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
The extensive infotainment is all controlled via a 10.1-inch touchscreen display in the centre console which, together with the air conditioning controls, is tilted ergonomically toward the driver. One of the best pleasures of driving is having your favourite playlist on as you venture on the open roads – the Audi Q3 makes this type of driving so seamless and easy with a tech-rich experience. The user-friendly touchscreen is very responsive to control music and navigation, whilst the legendary Audi sound system is as remarkable as you would expect from a vehicle of this calibre. On one journey from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, the drive was so enjoyable and relaxed, we’d be akin to say it felt like flying.
There’s no shortage of power points inside of the Q3. In the front, you have access to a wireless charging pad, two USB ports and a 12-volt outlet. For passengers in the rear there are two USB outlets and a 12-volt within easy reach.
One major part of the new Q3 that didn’t need a complete overhaul is its drivetrain. A familiar 2.0-litre, turbocharged I4 engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox send power to all four wheels. With 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque on tap, the latter at your service from 1,700 to 4,400 rpm, it gets moving at a respectable clip. During our mostly highway drives, it was possible to get the Q3 to 100 kph in around 8.0 seconds. The safety features are top-notch too. The forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking comes as standard on the Q3. The full body of features includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, parking sensors and a crisp, 360-degree camera, which makes everything from parking to turning tight corners and cruising down the highway, safe and laid-back for the driver and the passengers.
Put the Audi Q3 in Dynamic Mode and it reacts commendably, whilst the standard suspension setup gives way to controlled body roll and a firm pedal feel for confident stopping muscle. For everyday driving or trips between the Emirates, switch to the Q3’s Comfort setting to calm the steering and drivetrain, but if you find this a bit sluggish – as we did – keep the car in Sport Mode for better off-the-line thrust.
The new Audi Q3 enters the UAE market with 35 and 40 TFSI engines. It features the cylinder on demand system, which switches off the second and third cylinder temporarily at low and medium loads, thus helping reduce fuel consumption in combination with the seven-speed S-tronic transmission.
Three stylish trim line variants are available to give UAE customers even more opportunity to personalise their preference. The entry version comes with 17-inch alloy wheels and a high gloss package. The advanced version gives the customer 18-invh alloy wheels as standard, specific bumpers and contrast painting (full body paint available as an option) and an interior featuring a sporty aluminum trim. The S-line version has even more choice with sporty 19-inch alloy wheels, S line bumpers and full body paint (contrast painting available as an option) as well as the sporty aluminum trim interior. The Audi Q3 commands a powerful stance; it’s vibrant, practical and utterly inspiring. The brand with four rings has done it again and we would only encourage you to experience it firsthand.
Price for the Audi Q3 in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain starts at AED173,000, with LED headlights,20-spoke cast alloy wheels, ambient lightingpackage and Sports contour leather-wrapped steering wheel included as standard.
GO: VISIT WWW.AUDI-ABUDHABI.COM TO BOOK A TEST DRIVE OR CALL AUDI CENTRE ABU DHABI ALI & SONS CO. ON (0)2 205 4444 FOR MORE INFORMATION.