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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C

Review: The all-new Audi Q3 is a smart, sophisticated SUV that drives better than most rivals

We put the new premium SUV through its paces in Italy.

THIS IS THE second-generation Q3 small SUV, and this one is bigger than before.

This means there is a bigger difference between it and the Q2. With the use of the Volkswagen Group’s flexible MQB architecture, the Audi SUV line-up now follows a more logical size progression: Q2 to Q3 to Q5.

Compared with its predecessor, the new Audi Q3 has grown in virtually all dimensions, and is now 97mm longer, 25mm wider and 23mm higher. Its wheelbase has been stretched by 77 millimetres, creating more knee room, headroom and elbow room all around. Boot space has also increased by 70 litres and now totals 530 or 675 litres depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests – with the backrests completely folded down the capacity rises to 1,525 litres.

While it bears an obvious resemblance to its predecessor, it takes on a much sharper design.

Audi Audi

Inside, the high-tech looking interior majors on touchscreens and the design draws inspiration from the likes of the Audi Q8 and the A7.

The interior is lovely with some really nice trims, finishes and flourishes like the ‘Amber Brown’ Alcantara dash trim and the slim door handles. The quality of the cabin is top notch and Audi has done a great job creating a space that is classy yet contemporary with a bit of life to it too.

Seats are comfortable upfront and in the back, although the sportier S line seats are a little narrow.

Audi Audi

As standard, the Q3 comes with a 10-inch digital instrument cluster and, optionally, you can spec it up with the full-fat 12.3-inch ‘Virtual Cockpit’ instrument pack. Everything is laid out logically and buttons and switchgear falls easily to hand.

Storage is adequate upfront but a little lacking in the rear which might be a bit of an inconvenience if you have young children. The doors, however, do open wide to allow for easy access to the ISOFIX child seat anchor points. Rear room is good but those in the rear middle seat will have to put their feet either side of the transmission tunnel.

Audi Audi

Visibility is good all round and there is plenty of steering wheel and seat adjustment to find a comfortable driving position no matter how tall or short you are.

Out on the road the Q3 is comfortable and refined. Audi’s use of better sound deadening material, along with acoustic glazing for the windscreen contributes to a hushed cabin, even with the 150hp diesel engine. That engine has plenty of torque and its manual gearbox is mated with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive transmission.

Audi Audi

The real winner overall in the engine category is the 150hp petrol, badged as a 35 TFSI. It offers cylinder-on-demand technology that shuts down the second and third cylinders when the car is driving on part-throttle, reducing fuel consumption. It does this without you ever noticing too. The seven-speed automatic transmission works especially well with this engine.

Audi Audi

In all there are three different suspension configurations depending on the model you choose, and all provide a ride that is noticeably absent of body roll in bends.

Yet it still manages to provide ample levels of comfort and rides the bumps and potholes well, even when rolling on larger optional 19-inch wheels.

Audi Audi

The steering has a direct feel thanks to its variable assistance, it really makes for a nice driving experience. Only minimal input is needed when threading it along a winding road, while parking into a tight space requires fewer turns lock-to-lock.

Overall, the Audi Q3 is a smart and sophisticated premium SUV that handles well and will suit many Irish families looking for a desirable model with plenty of tech and safety features on board. 

Audi Audi

The new Audi Q3 will be available to order in Ireland from late 2018.

READ: 8 crossovers under €30k you can buy right now >

READ: Review – The all-new Lexus UX hybrid crossover is bang on trend (and looks the part too) >

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