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Revealed: Audi’s new Q3 grows up

A bigger, more spacious Audi Q3 set to touch down in Australia in mid-2019

25 Jul 2018

AUDI Australia has confirmed an anticipated mid-2019 launch date for its new grown-up Q3 after details of the second-generation small SUV were leaked in Europe overnight ahead of the official reveal this week.
Now based on Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform, the new Q3 sits on a wheelbase stretched by a healthy 77mm, liberating more passenger legroom and significantly larger cargo space.
Overall length has grown by 97mm, to 4485mm, which is longer than its three major rivals, the BMW X1 (4439mm), Volvo XC40 (4425mm) and Mercedes-Benz GLA (4417mm).
The new Q3 is also 18mm wider (1856mm) and 5mm lower than before (1585mm), giving the new version a sportier, more planted look on the road. The size boost also puts a bit more distance between the Q3 in its smaller sibling, the Q2, that has been cannibalising some Q3 sales since it was launched last year.
Although the styling changes are evolutionary, sharper edges, bulging mudguards and an octagonal Singleframe grille with its eight vertical slats give the design a lift over the previous model that has done duty in Australia since 2012.
The slim-line headlights are now LED, with cunning matrix anti-dazzle technology an option.
In Europe where the Q3 is expected to go on sale later this year, the vehicle will be launched with a choice of four four-cylinder engines – one diesel and three petrol.
The range will kick off with a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine in the newly named 35 TFSI that will be front-wheel drive. Replacing the 1.4-litre TFSI, this engine will pack 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque, which is the same as the current model’s base engine.
Also in front-wheel drive, the 2.0-litre diesel 35 TDI also produces 110kW but gets more torque, at 340Nm, which again is the same as the current diesel. European reports suggest a more powerful 140kW diesel version will be added later.
A 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine will be available in two states of tune – 140kW in the 40 TFSI and 169kW in the 45 TFSI, both of which represent a step up on the 132kW of the current 2.0 TFSI.
The 2.0-litre petrol engines will all come with a seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission and trademark quattro all-wheel-drive system as standard.
There is no immediate word of high-performance RS Q3 or hybrid versions. At a guess, we would anticipate an RS version about 12-to-18 months after initial launch, so meaning 2020.
Depending on specification, the Q3 gets 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels, although 20-inch items will be on the options list.
In a move that will delight Q3 fans, luggage space goes up from a tight 420 litres to 530L, growing to 1525L with the 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats flat. Those rear seats, incidentally, not only slide fore and aft by 150mm for a more flexible cargo area or greater legroom, but also can be reclined in seven stages.
The cargo floor can be set to three levels, while an electric tailgate opened with a foot motion sensor is optional.
Audi claims that the latest Q3 will ride more smoothly than before on new suspension that, should the buyer tick the extra-cost box, can include adaptive dampers.
As always, the S Line package gets firmer sports suspension, along with variable steering.
Six driving modes include auto, comfort, dynamic, off-road, efficiency and individual settings.
The angular exterior design is carried through into the interior that, judging by official images, is also high on metallic finishes. 
The new Q3 will come standard with an Audi TT-style “virtual cockpit” dash with a choice of three views on a 10.25-inch screen in standard form, stepping up to 12.3in if the buyer wants to get the full effect.
In the middle of the dash, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen is standard on entry variants, stepping up to 12.3in in upper levels. These touchscreens are fixed in the dash below the central air vents, doing away with the dash-top pop-up screens of some Audi models.
The bigger screen gets its own mobile connection to communicate with other similarly equipped vehicles via the cloud, sharing warnings on dangerous road conditions, traffic jams, parking space availability and the like. A Wi-Fi hotspot is also included.
The radio can automatically switch between FM, DAB and digital streaming for optimum reception. 
Safety wise, adaptive cruise assist incorporates a bunch of functions such as adaptive cruise, active lane keeping and traffic jam assist. 
Pricing and local line-up details will be released by Audi Australia closer to launch.
The 12-month wait for the new Q3 will seem rather long for Audi Australia, as sales of its one-time small luxury SUV champion have suffered recently.
So far this year, Q3 sales are down 37.2 per cent, to 1184 units, in the face of newer competition from the Mercedes GLA – the new segment leader with 2266 first-half sales – BMW X1, Volvo XC40 and even Audi’s own Q2.

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