With over 1.1 million bought since its introduction in 2012, the Audi Q3 has been a vital car for introducing shoppers to the Audi model. Even with its a lot later introduction to the US, in 2015, delayed entry would solely end up to whet the urge for food of American drivers. No, it wasn’t as technologically superior as different Audis on the sellers’ tons, and sure, it was utilizing the older era of engines and transmissions, not to point out the previous infotainment system. Seems, such issues didn’t cross shoppers’ minds whereas buying. Audi was enthusiastic about it, although, and so we get the all-new 2019 Q3.
With its US launch not anticipated till subsequent yr, Audi invited us to the extremely lovely Bolzano, Italy to check out the brand new Q3. Tucked into the Dolomites of North East Italy, its peaks and valleys are ok for the Italian Alpini, the elite mountain warfare corps, and in order that they’d be ok for placing the 2019 Q3 by way of its paces. That its some of the lovely locations in Europe solely sweetened the deal.
The 120 kilometer drive would take us off the freeway and via Wolkenstein in Gröden or Selva di Val Gardena within the Val Gardena in South Tyrol, Northern Italy. It’s a really fascinating a part of Italy, because it’s autonomous: nearly all of the inhabitants speaks German, regardless that it has been a part of Italy because the finish of World Warfare I. The German-speaking a part of the group nonetheless identifies as Austrian, certainly, whereas the meals is an excellent mixture of all of the native cultures.
As you’d hope, the surroundings and roads are simply as unimaginable, however Audi’s selection wasn’t made only for the postcard choice. Large modifications in elevation, alongside with twisting paths and blind corners characterize a number of the hardest challenges round for a brand new automotive. The 2019 Q3 would have its work reduce out for it.
We began our day on the My Arbor lodge, perched excessive over the valley. The winding roads from the lodge to the village under to the freeway can be our first style of the brand new Q3, and it didn’t take lengthy earlier than I used to be rising assured within the compact SUV’s talents. The brakes chew onerous, the steering is sharp, and the fast throttle response could be very appreciated.
In contrast to US automobiles, which can get Audi’s Eight-speed automated transmission, the Euro-spec Q3 we’d been entrusted with had the automaker’s 7-speed S Tronic gearbox, and the fast up and downshifts are exactly what I anticipated. The US transmission could have lots to reside up to when it arrives at dealerships. Merging onto the freeway, the 228 horsepower 2.0T engine effortlessly accelerates in contrast to the first mannequin, and the hour-long, 50 km drive to our start line at Bolzano Airport glided by shortly.
The highways right here have been constructed by means of some extremely previous cities, and the sights are lovely. Vans and slower automobiles would generously stick to the best lane, leaving the Q3 to zip proper alongside on the velocity restrict. After arriving on the airport, it was time for a stint on the freeway on the fringe of the town.
Whereas it’s possible to be a frequent stomping floor for American drivers, I can’t say I used to be disillusioned once we turned off the freeway in the direction of Wolkenstein. Inside a number of kilometers, we have been within the forest and passing via typical European tunnels on our method to the first cease. The views stored getting higher, and so did my impressions of the Q3. Quiet within the cabin, and providing no complaints at our route, it proved simply as enjoyable once I took over passenger duties and had an opportunity to discover the brand new inside design.
Audi took a clean-sheet strategy with the brand new Q3’s exterior and inside, with nothing carried over from the earlier mannequin. It’s not been miserly with the know-how, both: it might be small, however the 2019 Q3 will get one of the best of the connectivity choices and driver help techniques that debuted within the new Audi A8. The MMI radio plus a digital instrument cluster is now normal, with the speedometer and tachometer now digital. Sandwiched in-between them is navigation, leisure, and different car info. In contrast to the Audi Digital Cockpit we’re acquainted with, although, this model for the Q3 doesn’t have an adjustable format.
A second, Eight.Eight-inch display is discovered on the middle stack, the place you work together with the elective MMI navigation plus infotainment system. That includes a new – however acquainted – flat menu construction, alongside with natural-language voice management and on-line route calculation powered by HERE. MMI navigation plus is an choice, with the complete 12.Three-inch Digital Cockpit show and an all-new 10.25-inch MMI contact show on the middle console, mounted at a 10-degree angle in order to higher face the driving force.
It’s not the one tech improve value noting. There’s now USB-C and USB Three.Zero ports, situated simply behind the gear shifter, as Audi embraces the newest smartphone connectivity sort. Audi Join with LTE Superior may also be an choice, together with WiFi hotspot help, alongside with the newest Automotive-to-X providers. That may permit similarly-equipped automobiles to report once they’re shifting in and out of parking areas, in order that vacant roadside areas shall be highlighted in lots of cities and cities. The automobiles from the swarm additionally warn one another of harmful spots, reminiscent of fog or black-ice, and report present velocity limits.
Lastly, there’ll be the very best tier, Audi Join Navigation & Infotainment plus with Google Earth, a hybrid radio, in addition to on-line and onboard twin voice management system. Alongside with the LTE Superior and Plus packages comes the myAudi app, which permits most of the car’s features to be managed from a distance, and you may also unlock the doorways with simply your telephone. The Audi telephone field can each wirelessly cost your telephone and increase its cell sign, whereas the Audi smartphone interface provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Lastly, there’s a sweet-sounding Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System with 15 audio system.
It was exhausting to consider, in truth, that this was an entry-level Audi because it felt simply as refined as its many higher-end siblings. The inside options the identical, taut strains as the outside, and may be completed in some very good mushy contact supplies like Alcantara. The piano black trim is borrowed from the A8, and provides the Q3 a suitably upscale feeling, whereas the brand new S Line sport seats are very snug and present wonderful help, one thing we appreciated after a full day of driving.
As our first cease loomed, an unimaginable tree-framed view of the mountains, with an attractive blue lake that you would see to the underside of did its greatest to distract me from my flip behind the wheel once more. As we obtained nearer to the city, although, visitors picked up, and it was time to check out the brand new adaptive cruise management.
Audi pre sense primary, Audi pre sense entrance, Audi aspect help lane-change warning, Audi lively lane help lane-departure warning system, and an adjustable velocity limiter are normal. There are additionally many choices together with adaptive cruise help, park help, cross visitors help rear, and 360-degree cameras. The adaptive cruise help incorporates the features of the adaptive cruise management, visitors jam help, and lively lane help.
Briefly, the thought is to not solely hold you at a protected distance from the car forward, however ensure you keep within the lane, too. A button on the prime of the cruise management stalk permits you to set the utmost velocity based mostly on the velocity restrict mechanically, or you possibly can manually override that with the traditional up and down movement. On the freeway sections I set the velocity restrict and distance limits, stored each arms on the wheel, however let the Q3 do the remaining. After you come to an entire cease, the Q3 will speed up once more routinely.
Whereas there’ll be an array of engines provided worldwide, together with diesels, I used to be in a position to affirm the 2 engine choices for North America. Within the US there’ll be the 2019 Q3 quattro with a 2.Zero-liter turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 184 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque; it’ll do Zero-60 mph in 7.four seconds. The second model would be the 2019 Q3 quattro S Line, with 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, sufficient to reduce the Zero-60 time to 6.Three seconds. quattro all-wheel drive might be commonplace, alongside with the Eight-Velocity automated transmission.
There’ll be Normal, Sport, and an non-compulsory damping suspension system, which depends on sensors constantly measuring the Q3’s physique actions. The dampers then modify to the street circumstances and driving state of affairs. The quantity of damping might be configured by way of Drive Choose, which is the place you discover numerous driving modes, like Dynamic and Consolation.
As we made it to the middle of city, I switched off the adaptive cruise and turned off towards the mountains. Climbing up via some unimaginable mountain roads, snaking their approach greater and larger, as we rose the timber dropped away to reveal what we might solely catch a glimpse of from the valley. The climb to 10,000 ft proved easy for the Q3, and the fast steering and very responsive engine made straightforward work of twisty roads. My co-driver and I might change off once more for the journey again to the lodge, the place we met up with Matt Baggley, the British designer chargeable for the outside design of the brand new SUV.
On the entrance, the Q3 options Audi’s new Singleframe grille with its putting, outsized octagonal design. The body is broad and the slats are vertical, and it’s flanked with the usual LED headlights. Matrix LED headlights can be obtainable as an choice, at the least in Europe. The prolonged roof-edge spoiler provides the phantasm of the Q3 being for much longer, whereas the sharply-angled D pillars and the crisp shoulder-lines – bulging with the basic quattro blisters – actually add to the aggressive look. The intricate headlights and taillights have grow to be the signature of all new Audi fashions, and the Q3 is not any totally different. The physique strains wrapping every have been particularly designed to name consideration to the lights, including to the Q3’s visible id within the course of.
It’s a much bigger automotive all spherical than the first mannequin, now 14.7 ft lengthy (+Three.Eight in), 6.1 ft (+ Zero.7 in) extensive, and 5.2 ft excessive (+Zero.2 in). An additional Three-inches within the wheelbase, now Eight.Eight ft lengthy, is immediately useful to the inside area. There, relying on the place of the rear seats and backrests, the bags compartment capability is between 530 (+250 liters from the earlier era) and up to 1,525 liters with the seats down. The rear seats also can slide by 5.9-inches, and their 40:20:40 cut up backrests may be tilted to seven positions.
Within the trunk, the loading flooring might be adjusted at up to three ranges, whereas the parcel shelf could be stowed beneath the ground if not wanted. The electrical tailgate may also be opened and closed with a kicking movement for hands-free entry. A lot of this we’ve seen earlier than on the Q5 and Q7 SUVs, however they’re welcome additions to a extra reasonably priced mannequin.
Precisely how reasonably priced, thoughts, stays to be seen. The 2019 Q3 gained’t be on sale for nearly a yr in North America, and at this level pricing, trim packages, and the choices contained in these packages are nonetheless undecided. What I can inform you with confidence now, although, is that the brand new Q3 is an extremely compelling entry for the driving force in search of a enjoyable to drive, entry-level luxury SUV.
Sure, that’s a mouthful of a class, and I do wrestle to even name it entry-level as that shall be decided predominantly by worth. Nonetheless, when you can forego the cooled seats and a couple of different smaller choices, the Q3 also needs to give Audi’s personal Q5 a run for its cash. On this very busy crossover phase, the brand new 2019 Q3 definitely left a robust impression on me. Worth it proper, and Audi ought to simply promote one other million.