The 2020 Audi Q3!
The 2020 Audi Q3!

Caroline drives the Audi Q3.

Audi’s Q range of SUVs have never been so relevant as they are now. Naturally, Audi has invested considerably in their Q range of SUVs in recent years, with new models like the Q2 and Q8, as well as this all new generation of the Audi Q3 that landed in Ireland in 2019. The arrival of the more compact Q2 in 2017, means that the Audi Q3 is no longer the smallest SUV in the Audi range. In fact, for this generation, Audi has considerably reinvented the Q3 so that it can function better as a family SUV.

In Ireland, the Audi Q3 2020 range kicks off at €39,400. There are a range of petrol and diesel engines on offer, as well as two trim lines, SE and S line. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available as is quattro four wheel drive, though standard models are front wheel drive.

The range has also been extended in 2020 with the arrival in Ireland of the new Audi Q3 Sportback. This new model adds a sportier, more coupé-like rear design in touch with Audi’s other Sportback models. It carries a €1000 price premium over the Q3 SUV and the range starts from €40,400. But the more exclusive, niche design certainly makes it an interesting prospect in this mid-size segment. 

The Q3 S line on test for Changing Lanes
The Q3 S line on test for Changing Lanes

What’s new for the Audi Q3 in 2020?

The new Audi Q3 debuts with a very smart new look inspired by the brand’s latest design language. It’s been comprehensively modernised to not alienate the target market, but looks fresh, angular and unmistakably Audi. It’s got more definition and stance yet it’s still a relatively compact vehicle in the metal. The new Singleframe grille has an octagonal design and eight ‘don’t mess with me’ vertical bars. The new wedge shape lights use LED technology in all versions and are paired with LED daytime running lights.

Slip inside the cabin of the latest Audi Q3, and it’s hard not to be instantly beguiled by the quality and technology at your fingertips. The cabin experience in the Q3 is one of the best in class. That’s down to how the digital instrument panel (Audi Virtual Cockpit, a 10.25 inch screen within the binnacle), and the new 10.1 inch MMI touch display, fit so comfortably into the cabin with seamless controls. Audi interiors are evolving in just the right way and the new Q3 makes a very pleasant entrance back into this segment.

The interior of the new Audi Q3
The interior of the new Audi Q3

Inside the 2020 Audi Q3

The Q3’s dashboard design is modern and cool with lashings of stylish high gloss black, while the material quality is good in just about all the places that matter. There’s also an optional ambient lighting package with 30 colour options for more wow. 

The new Q3 comes with a number of active safety systems including pre-sense basic, pre-sense front, side assist, active lane assist and automatic emergency braking. Standard equipment on SE models includes 18” alloys, Audi drive select, Audi Virtual Cockpit and 10.1” MMI touch display, light/rain sensor, LED headlights, cruise control and manual air con.

S line models (from €43,350) add 19” alloys, S line body kit, S line interior including front sport seats and stainless steel pedals, LED interior pack and full LED headlamps with dynamic rear indicators.

Does the new Audi Q3 make a good family SUV?

The new Audi Q3 is built upon the Volkswagen Group’s modular transverse matrix, which means that the new Q3 has grown in size. It’s longer and wider than its predecessor with a longer wheelbase also meaning that it is now more spacious inside for five people and their gear. In the rear it feels noticeably bigger with a welcome boost in knee room, headroom and elbow room that makes it more competitive in its segment than ever before.

For extra practicality an electrically powered tailgate comes as standard. The new Q3 also has a bigger boot at 530 litres or 675 litres depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests.

The Audi Q3 Sportback has joined the 2020 range with exlcusive styling
The Audi Q3 Sportback has joined the 2020 range with exlcusive styling

Is it good to drive?

According to Audi, the suspension in the new Q3 has been tuned to be more comfortable, assured and responsive, helped by the latest car’s longer wheelbase. S line models have a sport suspension for an even more tightly controlled feel. Progressive steering comes as standard across the range, which gradually becomes more direct as the steering angle increases.

On the road, the new Audi Q3 is remarkably good. The most striking and pleasant feature is the silence and seclusion of the cabin while driving. The refinement of this car is just beautiful. The handling and steering are more than adequate, making progress pleasant and brisk in the new Q3.

The Audi drive select dynamic handling system comes as standard and includes six modes – auto, comfort, dynamic, offroad, efficiency and individual. These settings influence the throttle response, the steering, the shift characteristics of the S tronic and the damper control where this is fitted.

Smooth TSI petrol power

In Ireland the new Audi Q3 is available with two petrol options (150hp and 230hp) and one diesel (150hp). The entry into the range is the 1.5-litre TFSI turbo petrol engine with 150 hp and 250 Nm of torque. This car is now badged 35 TFSI. We call it an entry model, but it’s actually very advanced! It uses clever cylinder on demand technology to improve efficiency, which temporarily switches off two cylinders when the engine is at low load. I found it to be exceptionally smooth, sweet and powerful on the road in the Q3. Over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 7.5l/100km, so high mileage drivers will achieve better economy from the diesel.

The new Audi Q3 sashays into a very competitive market. But this modern interpretation of ‘Audiness’ that now pervades the brand’s newer models like the Audi A6, makes the Q3 instantly desirable. The Q3 has grown up and is now more practical than ever with more space and more presence. The real jewel in the crown however is the latest generation Audi interior that sits so comfortably in the Q3. It strikes a perfect balance between comfort, quality and wow-worthy tech.  

The new Audi Q3 is astoundingly good!

The new Q3 on sale in Ireland from €39,400
The new Q3 on sale in Ireland from €39,400

By Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Audi Q3 1.5TSI S line S-Tronic
Price:
€43,350 (Range from €39,400)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
150 hp
Torque: 250 Nm
0-100km/h:  
9.6 seconds
Top speed: 211 km/h
Fuel economy:
7.4-7.7l/100km
CO2 emissions: 
169-176g/km
Motor tax: 
€280 per year