Audi Q3 35TFsi S-Tronic – Full Review
Looks matter to signify change and most importantly they can determine a new approach, I won’t lie, when Audi introduced the Q2 , I was a rather lost as I saw no need since they had the Q3 in that space. After driving it during my test period, I discovered that it has its appeal and its target market even though it may take some sales from the bigger Q3. The outgoing Q3 never appealed to me even in its RS guise I had no connection to it whatsoever. We connect to cars even as concepts, they spark a connection when done right.
The 2nd generation Q3 seems to have struck just the right note, starting with the looks, the front end takes its lead from the upcoming impressive Audi E-tron , the bolder wider grille, the LED headlights , mind you this is the brand that pioneered flowing indicators, so we do not expect boring headlights. The front bumper is well designed and looks good even in my bare to the minimal spec’d test mule, the bonnet is well mated to the side fenders, thus giving a sporty yet mature look. The side view benefits from hunched up fenders, cladding over wheel arches and below the sills, nice wheel selection ,my test car had simple yet good looking 18” multispoke alloys. The rear looks good with solid bum enhanced by LED taillights, a well merged boot to the lower well detailed bumper and that roof spoiler to boot.
The interior is my favourite bit, the design is abstract and quite futuristic, the door panel which was finished in deep grey velour with chrome inserts, the flow from the digital cluster which can now be changed in 3 different view to suit whatever mood, the centre console which is driver oriented, dare I say a work of class in how it is designed. The flush infotainment touch screen reminded of the sister brand’s top of the range SUV, the gearlever felt lovely to touch and operate, well placed buttons except the radio volume which was placed in solitude just below the air-condition controls, looks like an afterthought and it was somehow hard to reach, most Audi’s have that button next to the gear lever. Seats provided undeniable comfort and support with a near perfect driving position. Space is abundant for driver and occupants, this one was just perfect for us as a family, boot space was decent to load my bags and groceries and all the daily needs for my kids. A very user friendly environment even for my curious Mbali, the sound system is very good even though it was a standard unit.
Our test unit was powered by the 1.4L turbo charged power plant which generates an understated 110kw and 250nm of torque, this is driven to the front wheel via a very good 6 speed S-tronic gearbox, this equates to a very balanced drive of comfort with a solid handling offering. The pulling power is delivered in a linear fashion which is best enjoyed at par throttle as momentum builds. Perhaps I found no haste requiring moments as I utterly enjoyed driving this new Audi compact SUV. The Audi drive select modes are on offer should the spirited side of you prevail , even then it will be up to the challenge with no qualms, however as I pen this Audi had just unveiled a brutal RSQ3, so perhaps that will appease the RS purists.
The best bits I loved about my test unit was the specification, one of the few cars that had all my necessities even though they would cost the same as a used Audi A1, nobody wants a power tailgate, but it’s lovely to have and its cool to use, navigation is necessary in my world, parking sensors with rear view cam eliminate unnecessary risks, power seats are always great to have especially with Lumbar support, ambient lighting is just to show off you drive a car from the future to you friends, I never have use for the trailer hitch but it’s good to have, a panoramic glass roof is something us ooDarkie love, this is just about ½ of the options list to my test car , cost R129,850 sounds like a lot , however these can be packaged according to your choice. For instance my unit had a Comfort and Tech Package which I combined in my highlights above.
The Q3 starts from R565k to R599k for the S Line kitted range topper for now, all Audi Q3 models are backed by the standard 5year/100 000km Audi Freeway plan.
In closing, I loved the Q3, for its simple yet effective approach, great interior, superb ride, it is just one of those cars that fit my life requirements like a glove, DJ, Presenter, family man and just an ordinary car guy. It gets my nod!
Thanks to Tashta, Yusuf and Audi South Africa for the test unit.
Yours in motoring Wezile Lorenzio Bonani