2018 Audi Q3 price, specs & release date
40.5 - 63.9
117 - 161 g/km
150 - 230
More spacious then previous gen
Updated design more competative
New more responsive gearbox
Sportier but traditional Audi elegance lost
Realistically not an off roader
Fake exhausts look ridiculous and cheap
The 2018 Audi Q3 SUV is expected to cost from around €31,000 for a 1.5-litre petrol model in basic Sport trim and with two-wheel drive – putting it on an even keel with basic versions of the Volvo XC40, BMW X1 and Jaguar E-pace. The new Audi Q3 is expected to go on sale in November.
As you would expect, the 2018 Q3 SUV’s interior looks both extremely well built and very high-tech.
Perhaps the biggest talking point is that the MMI control which is found between the two front seats in the current Q3 has been ditched in favour of a touchscreen that’s trickier to use on the move. The car’s conventional ventilation controls are located beneath it and the whole lot is angled 10 degrees towards the driver – making you feel like the centre of attention.
The interior finish depends on the model you choose – Sport cars get cloth upholstery as standard while S line versions get a combination of man-made leather and cloth. Both models can be upgraded to real leather, and you can also choose a combination of real leather and Alcantara on S line cars.
For the first time in the Audi Q3, you can choose to have leather on the doors and instrument panel – there are three colours to pick from, including a ‘bold’ orange. In addition to this, you can specify interior mood lighting which lights up the interior and storage compartment in your choice of 30 selectable colours.
Updated Q3 SUV styling
The Audi Q3’s new look kicks of with Audi’s now-trademark huge, six-point grille. Every Q3 gets LED headlights with distinctive light signatures, while top-of-the-range cars get matrix LEDs that allow you to use your full beam even in oncoming traffic. The updates to the front is completed with an aggressive front bumper that gives the Q3 the look of a shrunken version of the larger Q7 SUV.
Those connections continue to the Q3’s sides where it gets blistered front and rear wheel arches and a distinctive line that flows from the bonnet and steps out above the back wheel – just like you see on the Q7. The black lower body-cladding makes the Q3 look higher riding – and a more authentic SUV as a result – and you can choose from 17, 18 and 20-inch alloy wheels.
That sporty theme continues to the back with a boot-mounted spoiler that’ll help save a little fuel when you’re cruising. You get pretty rear LED tail lights, which again make the Q3 easy to spot at night, and a black lower bumper with a pair of fake exhaust tips.
‘Personalization’ will be a buzzword for the new Audi Q3 and you’ll be able to choose from a range of 11 colours finished with a choice of contrasting lower body cladding. S line models, meanwhile, get big wheels, along with sporty side sills, a more distinctive front bumper and a racy rear diffuser.
Updated infotainment system
Thankfully, the Q3’s full digital display comes as standard, so you get a 10.1-inch central display and a 10.25-inch multi-function screen in place of conventional dials. The larger screen can be used to display a huge sat-nav map while having the two screens means you can adjust the car’s various functions while still being able to see the navigation system’s directions.
The system is hooked up to a voice recognition feature that can understand colloquial speech and – when it inevitably doesn’t – asks you questions to help clarify. That request is then acted upon based on information stored within the car or by referring to the cloud, which, Audi says, makes it more capable of successfully carrying out your request.
You’ll be able to avoid all that when you come to navigating your commute because the Q3’s sat-nav system learns and stores your regular routes. Every Q3 comes with a three-year subscription to the Audi connect portfolio – giving you access to the beautiful detail of Google Maps, as well as live information on nearby parking and fuel stations, which appears on the sat-nav. The same system also gives you WiFi hotspot for you and your passengers.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are fitted as standard so you get plug-and-play access to your compatible smartphone’s sat-nav and music apps, as well as being able to quickly set up your phone and access its contacts. Wireless charging, meanwhile, is optional and comes as part of a pack that adds two USB plugs (you get two as standard) and a 12v socket for the rear seat. Another option is a 15-speaker, 680W Bang & Olufsen stereo.
With the Q2 holding the line and as the firm’s smallest SUV, the 2018 Audi Q3 SUV has grown significantly in size – it’s 97mm longer and 18mm wider than the old model. It’s not as tall though – albeit just 5mm shorter. Of particular interest is its 78mm longer wheelbase – the space between the front and rear wheels – that will allow the new Q3 to offer more rear legroom than the car it replaces.
Excellent front-seat space, along with plenty of adjustment to get a comfortable driving position, is a given. However, your rear seat passengers might be surprised to find that their seat slides forwards and backwards by up 150mm – giving them plenty of knee room or allowing you to increase boot capacity when needed.
Even with the back seats pushed back as far as they’ll go, the Q3 has a 530-litre boot – giving it space for an extra suitcase when compared with the Jaguar E-Pace or Volvo XC40. You should be able to squeeze in an extra soft bag when compared with the BMW X1. With the rear seats pushed forwards as far as they’ll go, boot capacity increases to 675 litres – more than you get in larger SUVs.
Folding the rear seats away gets you a maximum capacity of 1,525 litres so the Q3 should be able to swallow an your bicycle with both its wheels attached. The boot is also well thought out with a wide opening and an adjustable floor that makes the load bay completely flat. There’s even a space to store the car’s parcel shelf when it is not in use.
Driving & engines
The 2018 Audi Q3 SUV will be available with two suspension setups – standard, more comfortable suspension in Sport models and a firmer, sportier setup in S line cars, which should cut out body lean in bends.
The optional damper control, meanwhile, should give you the best of both worlds. It allows you to switch between soft and firm settings, or can be left in auto mode – where the car adjusts its suspension automatically to suit the road surface. In the unlikely event of you ever taking your Q3 off-road, you can also specify hill descent control, which allows you to safely descend steep slopes.
From its November launch, the Audi Q3 will be available with a choice of four engines, with power ranging from 150 to 230hp.
The range kicks off with a 1.5-litre petrol (badged 35 TFSI) which comes with a seven-speed automatic gearbox and front-wheel drive. A six-speed manual will be available at a later date. You may well find the 1.5-litre model is the pick of the range offering sprightly performance and impressive fuel economy (expect around 50 mpg) because the engine can rest half its cylinders at a cruise to save fuel.
Choose the 2.0-litre petrol – it’s available with 190 (40 TFSI) or 230hp (45 TFSI) and gets the same seven-speed auto as the 1.5-litre engine – and you’ll notice a significant boost in performance but can also expect fuel economy to closer to 40mpg. That’s partly because both models come with grippy, but fuel-sapping, four-wheel drive as standard.