If you’re deciding between compact luxury crossovers, Audi has some news to share. For 2021 the company is adding a new entry-level trim level to the Q3 lineup, called the 40 TFSI, packing a less powerful four-cylinder engine, but also a lower starting price. With the new trim, the 2021 Q3 now starts at $34,000, which is $2,000 cheaper than before.
The 40 TFSI joins the party with 184 horsepower (137 kilowatts) and 236 pound-feet (320 newton-meters). For those keeping track, that’s less than the 45 TFSI, which is good for 228 hp (170 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm). Is a 44 hp drop worth the $2,000 discount? For some, it might be, especially considering the improved fuel economy. The 40 TFSI improves on the higher trim by two miles per gallon across the board: 22 city, 30 highway, and 25 combined.
Set aside the power penalty and the new base Q3 still gets the same standard features from before. This includes Quattro all-wheel drive on every model, along with lane-keeping assistance, three-zone climate control, and digital instrument cluster. Audi will offer the less powerful trim in Premium and Premium Plus variants, so you can still load it up with the options of your choosing.
We’ve driven the Q3 on several occasions and were impressed each time with its upscale interior and fun, sharp styling. The Q3 isn’t a super dynamic driver’s crossover, so we’re not too worried about the reduction in horsepower on this new trim – it's not an RS Q3, after all. The decrease in price and the improved economy figures make Audi’s smallest crossover a more compelling option. The 2021 Q3 40 TFSI will go on sale early next year and will serve as the new cheapest way to get into an Audi SUV.
Gallery: 2019 Audi Q3: Review