Audi has increased its range rapidly over the past few years and SUVs are now firmly on the agenda with the gargantuan Q7 and mid-sized Q5 now a common sight, Audi has turned its attention to the increasingly profitable compact crossover segment. The Q3 is aimed at younger buyers who want a more compact and affordable introduction to the Audi range.
The Q3 sticks to the current Audi design language, to the extent that the Q3, Q5 and Q7 all look very similar. The interior is also true to form with high quality materials, although we would prefer to see a little more design flair.
The Q3 benefits from the 2-litre TFSI engine which combines turbocharging and direct injection to great effect. Maximum torque of 206 lb ft is available from 1,700 - 4,200 rpm which seamlessly blends into the peak power band between 4,300 and 6,200 rpm. The net result is that the Q3 feels lively at any revs and has great flexibility.
The Q3 may have a version of Audi's four-wheel drive 'quattro' system but it is very road-orientated so don't expect to get to far off road. If you stick to the black stuff the system does boost traction and combines with good body control to deliver a composed performance. What is lacking is real driver engagement, with the steering lacking feedback and the chassis lacking adjustability.
The smallest Audi SUV follows the brand’s form book with lacklustre handling and average ride quality balanced out by cool styling and top notch materials. The Audi Q3 isn't particularly cheap but it is highly desirable and thanks to the 2-litre TFSI engine it combines admirable performance with good fuel economy.