The new Audi Q3 is a family SUV with great all-round talents. In the second generation it appears not only visually more self-confident, but offers far greater utility value thanks to abundant space, comprehensive adaptability and many practical details. Just like the Audi top-of-the-line models, it features a digital cockpit and a large MMI screen with touch response. Numerous infotainment solutions from the full-size segment connect the compact SUV with its environment. New assist systems support the driver when parking, in town and on long journeys. These features also enhance comfort, as does the further developed suspension.
Strength and presence: the exterior design
The new Audi Q3 looks much sportier than its predecessor. The Singleframe grille in octagon design and large side air inlets characterize the aggressive front-end. Eight vertical bars divide up the radiator grille with its striking frame and reflect the SUV character. The headlights are narrow and run inwards with their wedge shape. Audi supplies them with LED technology including dynamic turn signals as standard. Customers are also able to upgrade to Matrix LED headlights (available as an optional extra) which intelligently illuminates the road through its adaptive high beam technology.
A highlight in the side view is the symmetrical lighting graphics of the headlights and rear lights. The shoulder line connects them from a styling perspective and provides an athletic overall impression with strong muscles over the wheel arches. The contours draw their inspiration from Audi’s quattro DNA and make the SUV seem even wider; the colour-contrasting wheel arch trims (in the Standard and Advanced trim lines) emphasize the off-road look, while the body coloured version (in the S Line trim line) offers a more sportier character. Supported by a long roof edge spoiler, which also flanks the rear window at the side, the steeply raked D pillars of the body line also create an appearance of forward thrust.
Customers for the new Q3 have many options for customizing their car. These include a contrasting paint finish for the lower body section, which accentuates the SUV look even more. With the S line exterior package, the bumpers, sill trims and diffuser look decidedly sporty. Eleven paint colours are available. There are also two exterior trim lines available in addition to the standard model, namely the Advanced and S line trim lines. Each provides a differentiated exterior visual appearance with characteristic bumper elements and larger rims.
Driver-oriented and sporty: the interior
Sporty character, taut lines, three-dimensionally styled elements – the interior continues the design of the exterior and echoes in many ways the brand’s full-size models. The instrument panel is divided into two levels: the top part includes the air vents; the bottom section incorporates the large octagonal area with its black-panel look. The instrument panel varies the motif of the Singleframe and is surrounded by a wide chrome strip. The high-gloss black trim surrounds the central element of the new operating concept: the MMI touch display. Together with the air conditioning controls underneath, it is tilted 10 degrees toward the driver. The pushbutton module for the lighting functions, which replaces the rotary control on the predecessor model, is slotted into the panel to the left of the steering wheel. All displays, buttons and controls are located ergonomically.
Audi has also developed a new concept for the colours and materials. Q3 customers can choose between two variants over and above the standard version – the sports package and the S line sports interior package. Both packages include the sport seats, which are trimmed optionally with a combination of leather/artificial leather and Alcantara. The Alcantara surfaces on the instrument panel and on the door armrests are an entirely new option. They are available in two colours, including steel grey or a bold orange.
In the dark, the contour ambient LED lighting package – available as an optional extra or standard with the technology package – sets pinpoint lighting accents on the centre console and on the doors. It can be set to 30 colours and also illuminates the storage compartment under the instrument panel as well as the Audi logo above the glove compartment. Other interior features include the standard two-zone air conditioning, the panoramic glass sunroof or the flat-bottomed sports steering wheel.
Large and adaptable: the space concept
The new Audi Q3, which is based on the Volkswagen Group’s modular transverse matrix, has grown in virtually all dimensions and is positioned in the upper compact SUV segment. It is 4,484 millimetres long, making it 96 millimetres longer than its predecessor. In terms of width, it has grown 18 millimetres to 1,849 millimetres, but at 1,585 millimetres without the roof aerial, it is 5 millimetres flatter than the first-generation Q3. Its wheelbase, which has been stretched 77 millimetres to 2,680 millimetres is much more spacious – knee room, headroom and elbow room are even larger.
In typical SUV fashion, the Audi Q3 is easy to get into, with good all-round visibility, and yet offers a sporty seating position. The steering wheel is steeply angled accordingly. The seats – electrically adjustable as an option – offer the same comfort as in the larger SUV category.
One highlight is the standard-fit highly variable division of space: the rear seats can be moved fore/aft by 150 millimetres. Their three-way split backrests in the ratio 40:20:40 can be tilted in seven stages. Rear passengers also have the option of a centre armrest that features two cup holders as standard.
Depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests, the luggage compartment capacity totals 530 or 675 litres. With the backrests folded down the figure rises to 1,525 litres. The loading floor can be adjusted in up to three levels; the low loading sill of 748 millimetres makes it easier to stow heavy luggage. If the parcel shelf is not needed, it can be stowed under the loading floor. For extra comfort on long journeys, Audi offers the storage and luggage compartment package as an option or part of the comfort package. Besides nets on the backs of the front seats and a storage compartment under the front passenger seat, it includes a luggage compartment net as well as LED spotlights in the tailgate to provide illumination whatever the vehicle is carrying. The optional extra electric tailgate provides effortless access to the luggage compartment. In conjunction with the convenience key, it can also be opened and closed with a kicking motion.
Digital world: controls and displays
The operating and display concept of the family SUV has been overhauled from the ground up – Audi has done away with the analogue instruments. The digital instrument cluster with a 10.25 inch screen is standard equipment, which the driver operates using the multifunction steering wheel. Customers can also upgrade the instrument cluster to the Audi virtual cockpit with additional functions. It incorporates, for instance, the MMI functions and, in addition to road and engine speed, also displays information on music tracks. If the customer has specified navigation, the display also includes the navigation map. The driver can configure the display according to their needs and has all the data in their direct field of view. The standard MMI radio plus also includes an MMI touch display with 8.8 inch screen in the centre of the instrument panel. With the top-of-the-line equipment, MMI navigation plus, this touchscreen measures 10.1 inches. The displays appear in the 10.25 inch Audi virtual cockpit, which the customer can upgrade as an option to the Audi virtual cockpit plus with a 12.3 inch screen. The driver can call up three different views on the screen, including a new extra sporty display. MMI Navigation plus including the Audi virtual cockpit plus is available in the Technology package, which also includes Audi connect with limited functionality, contour ambient lighting and interior finishes in aluminium.
In addition, the Audi Q3 with MMI navigation plus also comes with new natural-language voice control. It also understands freely structured wording. The ingenious dialogue manager asks questions if necessary, allows corrections, offers choices and defers to the speaker when interrupted.
Intelligently configured: infotainment
The MMI navigation plus in the Audi Q3 offers the same technical functions as in the higher segments – here too the SUV sets a new standard in the compact class. The navigation, for instance, recognizes the driver’s preferences based on previous journeys, allowing it to generate suitable route suggestions. The route is calculated – in parallel to the planning in the car – on the servers of the map and navigation provider HERE, using real-time data for the overall traffic situation.
A range of hardware modules supplement the infotainment portfolio. The Audi phone box links the owner’s smartphone to the vehicle’s antenna and charges the phone inductively. To play music from the MP3 player, USB stick or smartphone via the loudspeakers in the car, the Audi Q3 offers two USB ports – one of which is the latest new type C. This innovation supports faster transfer rates and makes it easy to connect thanks to a symmetrical plug. The standard Audi smartphone interface links customers’ iOS and Android cell phones and places their Apple Car Play or Android Auto environment on the MMI display.
The Audi sound system, with ten speakers including a centre speaker and subwoofer with a total output of 180 watts, ships as standard equipment for South Africa, while the optional Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with virtual 3D sound provides three-dimensional audio. The sound experience is generated through four additional loudspeakers in the instrument panel and one in each D pillar. A special algorithm that Audi developed in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute adds great width and depth to the sound – the interior of the Audi Q3 sounds larger. The sound system uses 15 loudspeakers altogether and produces a total output of 680 watts.
Convenience and safety: driver assistance systems
The Audi Q3 is also at the top of its class when it comes to assist systems. Substantially enhancing comfort on long journeys is the lane departure warning system. It is active from speeds of approximately 60 km/h and helps prevent the vehicle inadvertently drifting out of the lane. If the driver has not set an indicator and the car is about to cross the lane markings, the system assists with corrective steering intervention. As an option, the driver can set the steering wheel to provide an additional vibration.
The Audi Q3 makes maneuvering easier thanks to functions such as the park assist. It steers the SUV automatically into and out of parking spaces. The driver only has to accelerate, brake and shift gears. If the driver wants to reverse out of a parallel parking space or a tight entrance, cross traffic assist is activated. The system monitors the area behind the vehicle using two radar sensors and alerts the driver in critical situations. The four 360 degree cameras provide another useful function. They show on the large infotainment screen the immediate surroundings of the Audi Q3 when moving at speeds up to 10 km/h. Touch operation allows the driver to switch between various views. In addition to the virtual bird’s eye view, the reversing camera view and the front and rear 180° panoramic view, there is a detailed view of the front and rear wheels. This enables the driver to maneuver precisely up to the curb.
Agility on- and offroad: engines and suspension
Locally, Audi South Africa is offering one engine version – a 1.4 petrol engine with front wheel drive. The power output delivers 110 kW and 250 Nm of torque from a four-cylinder direct injection unit with turbocharging. A six-speed S tronic is used to transmit the power. Off-road, the front wheel drive delivers excellent driving pleasure with optimum traction and supreme stability. Activated at the push of a button, the optional hill descent control maintains the preset speed on a steep downhill gradient.
Maneuverable in town, agile on dirt roads, balanced on the highway – the suspension on the Audi Q3 offers a wide spread. The sporty character of the predecessor model has been retained, but enhanced with a clear dose of additional comfort. The new SUV takes bumpy roads with ease – thanks also to the longer wheelbase. As an option, the driver can vary the characteristics of the Audi Q3 depending on the driving situation, road conditions or personal needs using the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. It offers six profiles – from markedly comfortable, highly efficient through to out-and-out sporty. The system influences the throttle response, steering and shift characteristics of the S tronic as well as the optional suspension with damper control where sensors measure the body movement. The dampers are then adjusted accordingly to the road surface conditions and driving situation. This results in enhanced driving dynamics with even more comfort. Alternatively, there is the sport suspension – standard with the S line exterior package – with tauter spring/damper tuning and progressive steering. Its ratio becomes increasingly direct with increasing steering angle, adding substantially to the agile and light-footed handling of the new Audi Q3.
The front axle of the compact SUV is based on the McPherson principle; the rear axle adopts a sophisticated four-link design. The track widths are 1,584 millimetres and 1,576 millimetres respectively. The format of the aluminium wheels ranges from 17 to 19 inch – depending on the exterior trim.
Local packages: offering simplicity
Audi South Africa has introduced a new package concept which will be adopted for all new models to be launched. The concept aims to reduce complexity when ordering a new vehicle, considering that a customer is generally faced with a long list of options to choose from. It classifies key options according to a specific customer need and offers a straight-forward value proposition that is easy for a customer to understand. These packages have been defined by a combination of customer preferences as well as strategic options which aim to highlight Audi’s uniqueness or technology enhancements.
The packages include:
- S line interior
- Black styling
Within each package structure is a few options suited to the particular proposition. For example, the Comfort package includes storage and luggage; parking aid plus; electric tailgate; electric seats; seat heating and 4 way lumbar support.