Driving impression: Audi Q3 35 TFSI
This is the all-new Audi Q3 and its a big departure from the car it replaces.
The previous-generation model’s design was a bit frumpy and the interior was just slightly too small to make it a reasonable choice for families.
We’re happy to report that the all-new model fixes both these issues, while adding a number of new and attractive features to lure people towards Audi dealerships.
Let’s start with the most obvious difference – the design. In standard trim it’s relatively sedate, but in S Line trim it’s a striking thing to look at. Choose the right colour and you’ll have the neighbours salivating with jealousy.
Thanks to smarter packaging and a bigger footprint, the Q3 can now be considered a family vehicle. There’s enough room for five full-size adults, so two adults and two kids should be no problem at all. The boot is also impressively big, so you won’t have to go through the awkward process of selecting what to leave behind.
As we expected, the interior is a thing of beauty. The centre console is dominated by a large touch-screen interface from where you control everything, apart from the climate control. Other than that you get a volume knob, starter button and a few basic switches, but that’s it. It looks exceptional and, more importantly, feels even better than that. It goes a long way toward justifying the premium Audi demands for Q3 ownership.
Unlike the previous model, the Q3 is handsomely equipped in standard trim, with both the touch-screen and digital instrument cluster being standard across the range. To make the selection process even simpler, Audi is offering a number of packages that include a host of accessories instead of a selection of single options. Not only is it more affordable to the customer, but it will also help the Q3 retain its resale value better.
To give you some idea of the difference it makes, here’s an interesting fact – the optional extras on the previous model totalled over 80 individual features. The new Q3 has just over 30 individual options and five optional packs to choose from. Much easier.
At the moment only one engine is available, with a more powerful 2.0-litre turbo following in the new year.
Luckily, the 1.4-litre turbo motor is a peach, delivering 110kW and 250Nm of torque via six-speed automatic to the front wheels only. We reckon this will be enough power for most, as it certainly did not feel underpowered at any time during our short stint behind the wheel.
Being front-wheel drive only, we weren’t expecting a lot of gravel driving, but Audi surprised us by giving us ample opportunity to drive it on some gravel roads.
The adjustable dampers have a decent range, which makes the car fun to drive on any surface. On the sweeping tar roads surrounding George it was a joy to pilot enthusiastically. On gravel it remained compliant and comfortable, even when you actively try to catch it out. The electronics interfere so quickly that the average driver wouldn’t even notice that the nannies just saved his/her life.
Interestingly, the Q3 features a brake-based torque vectoring system up front. It brakes the inside wheel when turning. It feels fantastic on gravel. In fact, we’re left wondering why one would even need the quattro system in the Q3? Well, at least until the inevitable S and RS models come along.
The new Q3 is a big leap forward for Audi and should serve the brand well going forward. The price may seem steep, but trust us when we say the car is definitely worth the money.
An extensive list of standard equipment is available on the Audi Q3 35 TFSI S tronic:
- 2 zone climate control system
- LED interior lighting
- Anti-theft wheel bolts and alarm system
- Audi smartphone interface
- Audi sound system
- Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror, frameless
- Black roof rails
- Bluetooth interface
- Body-coloured exterior mirror housings
- 17 inch Cast alloy wheels, 5-double spoke style
- Centre arm rest in front
- Cruise control system
- Dashboard accent surface in black gloss look
- Decorative insert in micro metallic silver
- Digital cockpit
- Electronic stability control (ESC)
- Exterior mirrors, power-adjustable
- First aid kit and warning triangle
- Front seats, manually adjustable
- Headlight range control
- Headliner in Moon silver fabric
- High gloss styling package
- Hill descent control
- Hold assist
- ISOFIX child seat anchors and top tether for outer rear bench seat
- ISOFIX child seat anchors for the front passenger seat
- Leather steering wheel, 3-spoke, with multi-function Plus
- Leather / leatherette combination
- LED headlamps and rear combination lamps with dynamic turn signals
- Light / rain sensor
- Manual luggage compartment lid
- MMI Radio plus
- Plastic loading edge protection
- Rear bench seat Plus with centre armrest and beverage holder
- Rear parking aid
- Roof spoiler including centre high-mounted stop lamp
- Remote control key (with SAFELOCK)
- Scuff plates with aluminium inserts in front and rear, illuminated
- Separate daytime running light
- Side airbags in front and curtain airbag system
- Stainless steel loading edge protection
- Space saving spare wheel
- Standard bumpers (grained add-on parts)
- Standard suspension
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
- Voice recognition
The Audi Q3 range is priced as follows, along with the standard Audi Freeway plan (5 year / 100 000 km) and inclusive of all taxes:
- Audi Q3 35 TFSI S tronic at R 565,000
- Audi Q3 35 TFSI S tronic Advanced at R 585,000
- Audi Q3 35 TFSI S tronic S line at R 599,000