The blue car in our photo is the 2018 Audi Q3. The first generation model has been with us since 2011 so it’s fair to say that it’s starting to feel a little bit long in the tooth especially when compared against rivals like the BMW X1 and the Volvo XC40. So, what does the new model have to offer and is it bringing anything new to the table?
Well, it’s safe to say that it’s got a little bit more of everything. So, there’s more tech more space and loads more style. In fact the only thing that there’s not more of is the starting price as it’s expected to start from around £28k, (as of typing) which is roughly the same as the outgoing model. From afar the styling doesn’t seem to have changed all that much. However, it’s when you take a much closer look that you’ll then discover that it’s actually a much more handsome shape than the old car. It’s taller has a flatter bonnet and has a steeper windscreen which really helps to make this car look chunky and purposeful. We really love the boxy arches that give a nod to the old Quattro. All of this really adds up well and makes the old car seem a bit dreary.
The new Q3 is longer, wider and slightly lower than the old car which means that there’s more space inside and it’s on the inside where Audi have really gone to town. The interior really is a massive leap forward over the previous model. We love the little touches they’ve added such as the silver frame that mimics the grille at the front of the car. This silver frame houses a 10 inch screen which looks simply fabulous. The graphics on this system are really sharp and the loading times are extremely fast too. You also get another digital display in the form for Audi’s Virtual Cockpit which again is just gorgeous to look at. The overall tech inside this car is absolutely fantastic and certainly the best in its class. As you’d expect from Audi the cabin has a quality feel and is extremely well put together. The only thing we’re not too sure about is the funky bits of Alcantara especially if you opt for the orange trim. Apart from that the overall design is great – but this is what we’d expect from Audi.
If we turn our attention to the back a sliding rear bench lets you choose between great rear leg room or a huge boot. However, in no matter what position or guise you have it in the Q3’practicality is at least as good as all of its main rivals. When it comes to equipment every models gets alloy wheels, LED headlights, climate control and the fantastic digital screens.
So, what’s the Q3 like to drive? Well, for starters the Q3 gives you five engines to choose from. There’s three petrol engines and two diesels. The engine fitted to the car we’re looking at has the more powerful 2.0 litre petrol engine and produces 230 bhp (break horse power). It moves along nicely enough and it’s quite refined. However, the only problem that we have with it is that the gearbox, in this case the 7-speed DSG, is pretty laggy and slow to respond when you put your foot down. This really is a shame because the more you drive the Q3 the more impressed you’ll be. It’s doesn’t matter if you drive it on the standard springs or the optional adaptive dampers the Q3 has got loads of grip, is really comfortable and extremely quiet on the motorway. The only other thing to note is that the steering is a little on the numb side so it has to be said that the BMW X1 will still be a lot more fun to drive.
So what conclusions can we make in this short article? Well, what we’d say is that the Audi Q3 might not be as fun to drive as the BMW X1 nor as funky to look at as the Volvo XC40. However, it’s a car that’s beautifully built, well refined and the interior is just brilliant. In fact we’d go as far as saying that this car might just be the new class leader – praise indeed!