Styling, safety, efficiency, equipment and power were all on the agenda for the team given the tough task of reworking the already highly successful Audi Q3, and the fruit of their labour is due to open for order in the UK later this month priced from £25,340 OTR. The further improved RS Q3 flagship, the output of which the team has boosted by an additional 30PS to give a total of 340PS, will become available in January 2015 and, like its ‘standard’ counterparts, is expected to reach its first UK customers next spring.
Whether in SE, S line or top flight S line plus specification, the premium character of the redesigned Audi Q3 is apparent at first glance. The design with its coupe‑like lines and characteristic wrap-around tailgate has been lifted further by a striking new 3D effect Singleframe grille, revised bumpers and new look alloy wheels. The full body-colour paint finish which was previously standard for S line versions and above also now extends to SE models.
The revised headlights now feature xenon bulbs and LED daytime running lights as standard in SE versions, and these are complemented at the rear by reworked LED tail lights. S line and S line plus specification levels upgrade to all-weather LED headlights and dynamic ‘scrolling’ rear indicators which illuminate sequentially within two-tenths of a second from the inside out in the direction the driver intends to turn.
Under the skin, the two TDI clean diesel and three TFSI engines at the heart of the first wave of new Q3 models not only boast higher power outputs and improved fuel economy, but also CO2 reductions of as much as 17 per cent and compliance with EU6 emissions regulations.
New Cylinder-on-Demand unit
A new star in this line-up is the 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine with Cylinder-on-Demand technology which appeared first in the A1 and A3 ranges and makes its Q3 debut here. With 150PS and the option of either manual or S tronic twin-clutch automatic transmission, it gives the exclusively front-wheel-driven Q3 1.4 TFSI a 0-62mph sprint time of as little as 8.9 seconds (S tronic) and yet also enables it to return up to 50.4mpg (manual) based on the combined cycle test. Above it in the petrol line-up is a 2.0-litre TFSI unit with power increased from 170PS in the outgoing Q3 to 180PS, which can be linked to either manual or S tronic transmission and is allied to quattro all-wheel-drive without exception.
The third petrol unit – a sonorous 2.5-litre five-cylinder TFSI – is reserved for the RS Q3, and its 30PS power upgrade to 340PS helps to drop its sprint time from 5.2 to 4.8 seconds. Economy nevertheless remains impressive considering the performance potential – up to 32.8mpg is achievable according to the official tests.
Forming the diesel contingent are two four-cylinder TDIs with outputs of 150PS, up from 140PS in the equivalent previous generation Q3, and 184PS, up from 177PS. The 2.0-litre TDI SE with 150PS, manual transmission and 17-inch alloy wheels is the efficiency standard bearer in the TDI camp. It benefits from a boost of over 7mpg compared with the outgoing 140PS unit and shaves 18g/km from its CO2 total to give economy potential of up to 61.4mpg and emissions of just 119g/km. The comparable S line version with its 18-inch alloy wheels is only just behind at 60.1mpg and 122g/km, and both also record 0-62mph times that are 0.3 seconds quicker than their predecessor at 9.6 seconds.
The 2.0-litre 150PS TDI engine can work with either manual or S tronic transmission and can channel its output through either the front wheels only or through all four with the help of the quattro system. The 184PS version also offers two transmission options, but deploys its heightened power and torque solely via quattro drive.
Audi drive select now standard
The chassis of the redesigned Audi Q3 combines agile handling with supreme safety, and further fine-tuning for the latest versions has enhanced comfort even further. The Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system which was previously offered at extra cost is now fitted as standard, and enables the driver to adjust key technology modules, including the optional damper control system, to suit his or her personal preferences.
Up to five adults can enjoy the more refined ride of the latest Q3, those in the front from the comfort of sports seats with four-way electric lumbar support which are new to SE versions and also standard for S line and S line plus models. A new three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and additional aluminium effect detailing also freshen the ambiance. In S line versions and above, powered tailgate operation enhances the already comprehensive specification, and gives access to an impressive luggage capacity of up to 420 litres with seats up and 1,325 litres with seats folded. A new retractable luggage cover is also now installed to conceal personal belongings.
Features common to all versions include dual-zone climate control, a Concert audio system with 6.5-inch manually retractable colour display screen, Bluetooth interface, Audi Music Interface iPod connection and light and rain sensors. Navigation preparation, enabling customers to ‘activate’ navigation retrospectively by purchasing an SD card if required, is standard for SE and S line models, while S line plus specification comes ready prepared with SD-based navigation as standard.
In addition to its LED headlights, new five-spoke design 18-inch alloy wheels and exterior and interior styling enhancements, the S line upgrade also includes cloth and leather combination upholstery for the sports seats and the option to specify S line sports suspension in place of the standard set-up at no cost.
Even more distinctive – S line Plus specification
To this comprehensive list of features, S line plus specification adds larger 19-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass and standard metallic paint externally, and on the inside SD card-based navigation, perforated leather and Alcantara combination upholstery, cruise control and the Audi parking system plus with acoustic and visual guidance.
Customers can also choose from a wide variety of safety and comfort-enhancing options. With Audi side assist, a yellow LED indicator illuminates in the housing of the outside mirror if another vehicle is in the blind spot or is approaching rapidly from the rear. Audi active lane assist works with video cameras that detect the lane markings. It gently intervenes in the steering to help the driver return to the lane if he or she strays too close to a white line without indicating. The camera-based traffic sign recognition system shows speed limit signs – and now also no overtaking signs – as graphics in the driver information system display.
The technology package incorporating MMI navigation plus with its hard disc-based mapping and a colour Driver’s Information System is the high‑end infotainment solution from Audi, and can be complemented by Audi connect, which connects the Audi Q3 to the Internet. Passengers can use the integrated WiFi hotspot to surf or e‑mail, while the driver can enjoy the tailored services such as the web radio Audi music stream, online traffic information, and navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View.
4.8 seconds from 0 to 62mph: the Audi RS Q3
Updated in line with the rest of the range, the RS Q3 compact performance SUV is now more purposeful than ever. Its 2.5-litre, five‑cylinder engine now produces 340PS and 450 Nm (331.9 lb‑ft) of torque. It also now satisfies the Euro 6 standard. The top model in the series now accelerates from 0 to 62mph in 4.8 seconds on its way to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph. An RS exhaust system with a switchable flap adds even more volume to the unmistakable sound of the five‑cylinder engine.
The standard seven‑speed S tronic transmission, which transfers the power to the quattro drivetrain via a new hydraulic multi‑plate clutch (fifth generation), has also been refined for even faster gear changes. The lower gears are closely spaced in the interest of strong acceleration, while the seventh gear is tall to optimise economy.
RS sports suspension is standard, and can be supplemented by optional electronically controlled damping adjustable via Audi drive select, and thanks to their wave design the large brake discs gripped by eight-piston calipers on the front axle are now one kilogram lighter.
Numerous design details illustrate the special status of the first ever Audi SUV to wear the RS badge. As well as the sizeable wheels, which as standard in the UK measure 20 inches in diameter, the Audi RS Q3 also demonstrates its special status within the Q3 line-up with RS-specific body detailing, including a high-gloss black honeycomb front grille and RS bumpers, a special front treatment including a quattro emblem in the air intake and a distinctive rear diffuser insert flanked by a large elliptical tailpipe. A roof spoiler, roof rails in matt aluminium and special door sill plates and door trim strips also add emphasis.
Inside, sports seats upholstered in Fine Nappa leather with contrast stitching, red needles sweeping across grey dials in the instrument cluster and a Driver’s Information System offering a special RS menu with lap timer, oil temperature and boost pressure displays set the tone.
Pricing and full specification for the new Audi RS Q3 will be confirmed nearer to its January 2015 UK launch date.
2015 Audi Q3
2015 Audi Q3
2015 Audi RS Q3
2015 Audi RS Q3