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More power, efficiency in Audi Q3 facelift

Bar and grille: A significantly bolder grille and reshaped front bumper are the most obvious changes to Audi’s facelifted Q3 but significant improvements lurk beneath the skin.

Boost for Audi RS Q3 performance as facelifted SUV gets range-wide engine tweaks


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7 Nov 2014

AUDI has begun addressing its deficit in the small luxury SUV power wars with the announcement of a facelift for its popular Q3 range that is expected to hit Australian showrooms in the second half of 2015, topped with a significant boost in performance for the hot RS Q3 that gives the Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG something to think about.

The RS Q3’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo-petrol engine has been cranked up to produce 250kW of power and 450Nm of torque, still 15kW down on the GLA45 but enabling Audi to equal the AMG’s 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.8 seconds, a four-tenth improvement.

This has been achieved while both attaining Euro 6 emissions compliance and reducing fuel consumption from 8.8 litres per 100 kilometres to 8.4L/100km – still unable to match the GLA’s 7.6L/100km efficiency figure from its smaller 2.0-litre four-cylinder.

Audi no doubt has more up its sleeve if needed, for its five-cylinder powerhaus produces even more power and torque in the supercar-baiting 265kW/465Nm TT RS Plus.

Performance gains are not exclusive to buyers at the top end of the Q3 spectrum, with mainstream petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines producing up to 7kW and 50Nm more and some being 15 per cent more fuel-efficient.

Design-wise, the most obvious Q3 change is the new grille, narrowing more sharply at the top and with a thicker silver edging that extends like a pair of ears to meet the redesigned headlights, which are essentially the same shape but with thicker reflective edges that give them a narrower, more purposeful look.

The front bumper has been given a cleaner, more angular look but the RS Q3 has the biggest changes here, with more pronounced air ducts at the outer edges with thick silver inserts and the lower central intake receiving silver trim and inset with large quattro lettering as first seen on the RS6 and RS7.

At the rear is a tweaked tail-light design, where the RS Q3 also gains silver end caps for the roof spoiler. Seven refreshed alloy wheel styles alter the side-on view, three new colours join the palette and the interior remains virtually unchanged apart from some extra trim highlights and an improved cargo area cover.

On the updated Q3 Audi will introduce new S line sport and S line interior packs plus an ‘exclusive’ personalisation option to mix and match various interior and exterior trim collections.

The majority of updates are under the skin, including an updated seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission borrowed from the S1 hot hatch for quattro all-wheel-drive variants, bigger rear brake discs, lighter front brakes on the RS, two-stage electronic stability control for on and off-road driving and automatic trailer detection.

But most significant is the Q3’s improved engine efficiency and power, with all five non-RS engines also making meaningful gains in this area.

Outputs of the entry-level 1.4-litre petrol with front-wheel drive remain static at 110kW and 250Nm but the introduction of cylinder-on-demand technology, which shuts down two cylinders when the engine is operating under moderate load, means fuel consumption has dropped from 6.2L/100km to 5.8L/100km.

Going up to the 2.0-litre petrol with all-wheel-drive, the lower output version jumps from 125kW and 280Nm to 132kW/320Nm while fuel use decreases more than 15 per cent from 7.7L/100km to 6.5L/100km.

The high output four-cylinder petrol quattro increases from 155kW/300Nm to 162kW and 350Nm – a big 50Nm torque boost – while reducing consumption from 7.7L/100km to 6.6L/100km.

The lower-output 2.0-litre diesel quattro increases from 103kW/320Nm to 110kW/340Nm with fuel use dropping from 5.8L/100km to 5.1L/100km. In Europe-only front-drive manual form this engine achieves just 4.4L/100km.

For the high-output diesel quattro, performance is up from 130kW/380Nm to 135kW/380Nm and fuel use down from 5.9L/100km to 5.1L/100km.

Year-to-date, the Q3 dominates Australia’s small SUV over $40,000 segment with a 42.8 per cent share, although this is quickly being eroded by newcomers like the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Lexus NX, which respectively took a 27.5 per cent and 23.9 per cent share in October compared with the Q3’s 24 per cent.

Within Audi Australia’s stable the Q3 is the brand’s fourth most popular model, having found 2271 homes so far this year, down seven per cent on 2013 figures.

Of these around 150 were the hot RS variant.

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