Audi Q3 Review The Audi Q3 is no longer the smallest Audi SUV that mantle was taken by the dinky Q2 in 2016 but that shouldn't put you off what is still a practical, well built and desirable crossover.
On sale since 2011, the Q3 rivals cars like the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA. Its premiumfeel runs more than skin deep, as the compact Audi 4x4 offers an engaging, fun driving oakley safety glasses experience and genuine refinement thanks to solid design and engineering. Impeccable Audi build quality is reflected in a cabin that has a truly premium feel, too.With a full range of safety kit and the desirable 'four rings' badge on its nose, the Audi Q3 is unsurprisingly in strong demand. The downsides? This quality doesn't come cheap especially if you go to town on the options and despite its looks, the Q3 isn't all that capable off road.The Audi Q3 competes in the ever more popular small premium SUV sector. With accomplished rivals like the Range Rover Evoque, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA all gunning for the same market, the Q3 has a fight on its hands. It even has competition within the Audi brand, as the new Q2 attacks the younger market with funky looks and personalisation options.The Q3 sits between the Q2 and the larger Q5 and is based on the same platform as the A3. It's not been left behind in development a facelift in 2015 upped the equipment levels, and updated the nose and rear. We expect a new Q3 to launch some time in 2017, though.The Q3 comes with a choice of two or four wheel drive powertrains, the latter featuring a part time, front axle biased Haldex system. Larger Audi Q models have Torsen differentials and full time four wheel drive.All engines have been improved over the years, delivering a boost of up to 13.5 per cent in fuel efficiency and lower emissions. There are two petrol options in the standard (non RS) Q3: a two wheel drive 148bhp1.4 litrewith Cylinder on Demand technology and an all wheel drive 178bhp 2.0 litre. Meanwhile, the diesel line up comprises a 148bhp2.0 litre TDIwith either two or four wheel drive and a high powered 182bhp version.All engines come with the choice of a six speed manual gearbox or Audi's seven speed twin clutch S tronic automatic (although the 1.4 litre petrol has a six speed S tronic). The high performanceRS Q3model is the exception, as it's only available with the auto. This version has recently benefited from a 28bhp upgrade, and now packs 335bhp from its five cylinder petrol engine, while a 'Performance' variant ups that to a frankly astounding 362bhp. Audi Q3 vs Range Rover EvoqueBelow the RS flagship, there are three trim levels on offer SE,S lineNav and S line Plus and all are well equipped. Plus, there's a long list of optional extras to choose from, while customers can personalise their Q3s further through Audi's Exclusive programme.Even though it feels German, the Audi Q3 is built at the Martorell factory in Spain owned by sister brand SEAT. Asian market versions are also made in China, and there's even an Audi Q3 assembly plant in India, proving the SUV has truly global appeal. With the recent facelift, Audi hopes to continue the Q3's current success the firm has sold 400,000 examples globally since its launch in 2011.Thanks to its strong grip and decent body control, the car like Audi Q3 feels agile and composed. Better still, its combination of compact buy cheap oakleys online dimensions, excellent visibility and well weighted controls helps inspire confidence when threading it down twisty back roads and crowded city streets. In fact, the experience is more akin to hatchback than an SUV.The standard Drive Select system allows the driver to adjust the steering weight and throttle response it's best left in its normal mode, as the Sport setting makes the steering feel artificially heavy.However, this sharp handling comes at a price: like other compact SUVs, the Audi Q3 suffers from a firm and fidgety low speed ride. We'd recommend forking out for the adaptive dampers, which deliver a more supple ride. The other obvious trade off is limited off road ability, so don't buy a Q3 if you really want a mud plugger.The diesel engines are a little less refined than the petrol alternatives, particularly when idling or accelerating hard, although wind, tyre and engine clear oakleys noise aren't intrusive in any version, which makes for very relaxed cruising. Plus, both gearboxes found in the Audi Q3, the twin clutch S tronic automatic and the standard six speed manual, are excellent.When you put your foot down in the Audi RS closeout oakley sunglasses Q3, the turbo gives a loud whoosh and there's a race inspired exhaust note. With Audi's quattro system delivering 335bhp across all four wheels, the flagship model can sprint from 0 62mph in just 4.8 seconds.Our choice of powerplant is the 182bhp 2.0 litre TDI diesel (there is a less powerful 148bhp version). This serves up the best combination of performance and fuel efficiency in the Q3 range, with claimed economy of 51.4mpg and a 0 62mph time of 7.9 seconds (when fitted with the S tronic automatic box). CO2 emissions are also quite low, at 143g/km.The 1.4 TFSI engine with Cylinder on Demand technology is a new addition to the line up, and it's a really smooth and powerful unit. It also promises similar fuel economy and CO2 emissions to the diesel models, at 47.9mpg and 136g/km. Plus, because petrol cars are liable for lower company car tax, it's a good choice for business users.Performance SUV fans get the chance to unleash the same 2.5 litre five cylinder engine that Audi fits to the TT RS. It makes 335bhp in the RS Q3, coupled with 450Nm of torque from just 1,500rpm, and when combined with sharp throttle response it means the range topping model feels very fast on the road.With the exception of the RS Q3, the 2.0 TFSI with quattro four wheel drive is the most powerful Q3 in the range, but it claims 42.8mpg and 152g/km. The 1.4 TFSI Cylinder on Demand model is a good compromise, with official figures of 51.4mpg and 127g/km.The insurance group ratings range from group 20 for the 148bhp 1.4 litre petrol car to group 27 for the 178bhp 2.0 litre petrol. The line up compares favourably to other similar cars for example, a 1.
6 litre diesel Nissan Qashqai falls into group 19.Audi RS Q3 owners will naturally face a much bigger insurance hit. A hefty group 37 rating reflects this version's high performance potential.
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