Review: Audi Q3 – The stylish side of minimal gas consumption
Ever since brands like BMW experimented with the X6 at the dawn of the 21st century, luxury automakers are making a vehicle for every niche market. Audi, a brand that has thrived on the rally circuit, with its Quattro engine, is also making a name for itself in a slightly new area. Being one of the first high-end brands to enter the luxury subcompact market, the Q3 is now in its second generation, with a bigger body and better proportions than the previous model.
Audi steadfastly sticks to its tried and true design language, starting with its octagonal grille, borrowed from the Q8, and two trapezoidal intakes. From a front view, it’s impossible to mistake it for any other brand, and this time, it’s on the aggressive side. There is also a strong character line which runs below the bonnet, and through to the trunk.
It is very noticeable that there are a lot fewer buttons in the tech-ladened interior, instead, there are two configurable touch screens, which allows the driver to personalise everything. Firstly, there is a 10.1” screen inside the dial cluster, that Audi calls its ‘Virtual Cockpit’, which showcase a programmable layout of things like, speed gauge, maps and driver info.
The bigger screen, which is in the center console, is angled 10 degrees towards the driver. Its landscape orientation and high resolution makes it easy to read displayed information. There are also accented chrome tips strategically placed throughout the interior, to exude a sense of class.
The 11-speakers set up is perfectly tuned to maximise on mid-level sounds, which also ensures voice clarity is at its best. The media content played through these can be controlled by the touch screen display, steering wheel buttons or the oddly-placed volume button.
Around the trunk there is 18.7 cu. feet of space, which is two more than the previous model. There is also a floor divider, which can be lowered to create more space. Combined with a 40-20-40 foldable rear seat, it can easily be maneuvered to fit many items. I only wished the rear seats could have collapsed easier, like having a designated lever in the trunk.
The ample space continues throughout with vehicle, which has a high roofline to give enough headroom for persons above six feet. The same can be said about the knee room for back seat drivers, which is quite impressive for a subcompact SUV. The rear seats can also recline, and there are designated a/c vents, which mean that passengers can enjoy the long out-of-town journeys.
The brand is also adjusting with the times, by adding a wireless charging area for a cell phone, in front of the gear lever. The amenities continue, with multi-directional lumbar support, changeable ambient lights and a panoramic moon roof in the higher spec model.
Driving in a refined way
Audi ensures the driver is in an ideal seating position, with a power adjustable driver’s seat and telescopic steering wheel that can also tilt. In addition, the driver is placed very high in the vehicle, which makes it great to spot the potholes on the road.
Another complementary feature to aid with parking, is the reverse camera and sensors around the vehicle.
The Q3 has a seven - speed automatic transmission, which pushes out 150 hp in a smooth way, from the 1.4-litre turbo engine.
There is a dynamic driving mode, which makes the vehicle very engaging, however I kept it mostly in comfort mode. The most surprising thing about this vehicle is how little gas it uses. On a round trip from Kingston to Oracabessa, St. Mary, it only used a quarter tank of petrol. Over a journey of 125 km, I used a mere 10 litre of gas, which works out to JMD $1600*.
Where fuel-efficient engines are concerned, this and the Skyactiv engine in the Mazda CX-5, are two of the most impressive I have ever experienced.
With its overall angular design theme, Audi seems to be streamlining the Q3 to obtain a perfect mixture of style and sportiness. This vehicle has be one of the best in its class, based on the fact that it is built with the driver and passenger in mind and the engine performs impressively.
Standouts: Phone box which improves phone signal
Competition: Jaguar E-Pace, Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes GLA
*E90 petrol, calculated at JA$160 per litre.
Cost of test model (Total and monthly cost): $8.2M; Monthly Approximately $85, 310*
1. Premium Package:
• Starting at $8.2M
• 17” Wheels plus all standard features.
2. Premium Plus Package:
• Starting at: $8.5M
• Panoramic Roof
3. Luxury Package
• Starting at $9.2M
• All Premium Package features plus below
i. 18” Wheels
ii. Leather Seats
iii. Electronic Trunk
iv. Panoramic Roof