Audi Q3 Test Drive: “A good little package”

Audi Q3

The Q3 is Audi’s smallest SUV, but don’t let the compact exterior dimensions put you off. There’s plenty of space inside, with good legroom and headroom in the front and back. Boot space isn’t so generous, though, and while the rear seats can be dropped down to provide extra cargo capacity they don’t quite fold down flat. As a result the Audi Q3 is better at accommodating passengers than it is at carting around lots of kit. The main Q3 range has a choice of three trim levels – SE, S-line and S-line Plus.

The S-line specification upgrades the trim and adds part-leather upholstery, while S-line Plus gives you satnav, full leather and metallic paint as standard. Base engine is the 1.4TFSI petrol with 150PS, and there are two 2.0-litre petrol engines (177PS and 211PS) which come with quattro four-wheel drive. Two 2.0-litre diesels are also offered, a 140PS with two-wheel drive and a 177PS version with the option of four-wheel drive. Most buyers will plump for one of the diesel engines because they offer lower fuel consumption and better CO2 emissions, and if anything they are more refined and easier to drive than the petrol motors. But don’t discount the little 1.4TFSI: it’s smooth and punchy, and worth a look if you don’t need the extra grip of four-wheel drive.

At the top of the range, costing £13,000 extra and offering another 100bhp, is the RS Q3. Under the bonnet sits a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo petrol engine, similar to that in the Audi TT RS. It delivers 310PS at 5200rpm, and pulls vigorously whatever the gear or engine speed, making it very easy to extract rapid performance. According to Audi the RS Q3 will sprint from rest to 60mph in 5.5 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. All Q3s handle in an easy-going sort of way. There isn’t enough sharpness to the chassis, or communication through the steering, to appeal much to an enthusiastic driver, but grip is good and the handling is benign. All models offer a smooth and well-controlled ride, even the RS Q3 with the optional 20-inch wheels and low profiles tyres.

The Audi Q3 is a good little package. It’s a convenient size, with well thought-out interior space, and a range of smooth engines. The RS, while pricey, adds effortless performance to the Q3’s qualities. From £23,875

Andrew Kirkley
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  • 2nd September 2014

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