Eager to grow its customer base in the ever-intensifying compact luxury crossover segment, Audi made some serious improvements to the entry-level Q3. I had the chance to sample the car last week in Nashville, Tenn, and take some time to film with it. Check back tomorrow for a written review of the Q3. In the meantime, here are some highlights.
This time around, the baby Audi borrows many of its styling cues from the flagship Q8 crossover, looking much more aggressive than before. The new car’s footprint is bigger, too. It’s 3.8 inches longer, 2.0 inches taller and seven-tenths of an inch wider than the prior Q3, with the added space benefitting the cabin.
Open the door and you’re met with a flurry of sharp angles that work together to create a fun, modern-looking interior. Our test car also featured the optional orange Alcantara inserts, which add some extra flare. Front and center is a new 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen display, paired with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, dubbed Audi Virtual Cockpit. The two work together in fantastic harmony and are worth the additional money. Audi also brings wireless CarPlay to the Q3 and included a “phone box” wireless charging pad, that tethers the car’s LTE signal to the phone.
Motivating the Q3 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, which produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine, which Audi borrowed from the Volkswagen GTI, is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Sixty miles per hour is reached in 7.0 seconds, a 1.2-second improvement over the first-gen Q3. Unfortunately, fuel economy is slightly worse than before, losing 1 mile per gallon across the board: 19 mpg city, 27 highway, and 22 combined.
The new Q3 is already on sale and starts at $34,700, though the car featured in the video costs just over $45,000. Audi’s smallest crossover will do battle with formidable opponents such as the Mercedes GLA-Class, BMW X1, and Lexus UX.