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Driven: All-new Audi Q3 touches down

Audi Australia ups value equation with critical second-generation Q3 small SUV

11 Oct 2019

AUDI Australia has claimed its crucial all-new, second-generation Q3 small SUV line-up has significantly increased its value proposition over the outgoing version, with about $12,000 of extra value added while pricing has only increased by $3000.


The new-generation Q3 will kick off from $46,400 plus on-road costs for the entry-level 35 TFSI variant, while a Launch Edition based on the 35 TFSI will also be initially offered from $52,750.


Audi will expand the Q3 range in coming months to include the Sportback coupe-like body style in the first quarter of next year, followed by additional quattro powertrains in the second quarter and the high-performance RS Q3 the following quarter.


The brand has confirmed that the 140kW/320Nm 2.0-litre 40 TFSI quattro will join the range, however the more potent 169kW/370Nm 45 TFSI quattro is still being evaluated.


Diesel power will not be offered in the new generation due to slow sales of the previous version, with Audi Australia declining to take the 110kW/340Nm 35 TDI.


The company says it expects a roughly 50/50 sales split between the 35 TFSI and 40 TFSI by the time both models come on stream as well as an even split between male and female buyers.


Audi Australia chief customer and marketing officer Nikki Warburton said the Q3 will bring new customers into the brand while also retaining existing ones, with previous Q3 owners tending to become loyal customers of the brand.


“It will definitely bring new buyers, but we also know we’ve got very loyal buyers in our Q ranges, so we think there will be a lot of repeat buyers from existing customers, but definitely a car that brings new people into Audi for us. It’s a strong loyalty car,” she said.


The Q3 wagon is expected to be more popular than the Sportback, despite the latter still tipped to make up a significant portion of sales.


Audi Australia senior product planning executive Peter Strudicke said that when the Sportback arrives next year, range variation and specification should mirror that of the Q3.


“We’re still finalising all that, but it certainly makes sense to have similarities and keep the offer structure logical between the two, to make it easy for customers to choose between the regular Q3 and Q3 Sportback and say, ‘Oh, this is Sportback and maybe there’s one or two differences, maybe some design-focused things, but essentially the offer will be similar’,” he said.


The decision to streamline the ranges has been a result of Audi’s product planning direction in recent years, which has seen its breadth of offerings simplified to make choices easier for customers.


While the Q3 has taken a relatively long time to arrive in Australia due to complications from WLTP testing – the Q3 was revealed overseas in July last year – Audi Australia is not anticipating future stock disruptions, with a steady stream of product expected from when the vehicle goes on sale on November 22.


For now, the sole engine variant in the 35 TFSI is a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine producing 110kW at 5000rpm and 250Nm from 1500-3500rpm, driving the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.


Combined fuel consumption is rated at 7.2 litres per 100km, while the sprint from standstill to 100km/h takes 9.3 seconds, on to a top speed of 207km/h.


Built on Volkswagen Group’s modular MQB platform, one of the largest changes over the previous Q3 generation is the new model’s increased exterior dimensions, borne as a result of customer feedback.


Measuring 4485mm long, 1849mm wide and 1640mm tall, the new Q3 has increased in length by 96mm, width by 18mm and wheelbase length by 18mm.


This results in 35 mm of extra front headroom and a considerable 530 litres of luggage space, up 70L over the previous version.


Storage space can also increase up to 675L when sliding the adjustable rear seats forward, and up to 1525L with the rear seats stowed flat.


Audi Australia believes the Q3’s increased dimensions will not only result in greater usability but will also help prevent sales cannibalisation with the smaller Q2.


The 35 TFSI rides on MacPherson-strut front and multi-link rear suspension with steel springs as standard. Adaptive dampers can be fitted on the Launch Edition for $2000.


From the outside, the 35 TFSI comes standard with adaptive LED headlights, LED tail-lights with dynamic indicators, bumpers with a contrasting Manhattan grey finish, a front spoiler, a rear diffuser, side blades, roof rails in adonised aluminium, anelectric tailgate, keyless entry and start, and 18-inch alloy wheels.


Inside, it scores leather-appointed upholstery with manually adjustable seats, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, a cloth headliner, aluminium front scuff plates, a 10.1-inch touchscreen MMI navigation plus infotainment system, DAB+ digital radio, a six-speaker audio system, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, four USB ports and Qi wireless phone charging.


On the safety front, the five-star ANCAP-rated Q3 gains lane-change and lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, hill-descent control and a rearview camera with front and rear parking sensors.


Meanwhile the Launch Edition, priced $6350 above the 35 TFSI, adds a number of features including metallic paint, body-coloured bumpers, 19-inch alloys, a black styling package, folding exterior mirrors, privacy glass, auto-dimming mirrors, colour ambient lighting, electric front seats with lumbar support, an aluminium interior package, a 10-speaker premium audio system, surround-view cameras and adaptive cruise control.


Three main packages are available on the 35 TFSI including the $1900 Style package which bundles body-coloured bumpers, aluminium inlays and 19-inch wheels, while the $2600 Comfort package (standard on Launch Edition) adds electric front seats with heating and lumbar support, folding exterior mirrors, an auto-dimming interior mirror and adaptive cruise control.


If the Comfort package is optioned, the $900 Parking package can also be added, which includes surround-view cameras and park assist.


The Teknik package – a popular extra-cost option on the previous generation – has been made standard.


Ibis White is the standard paint hue, while Pulse Orange costs $600, and seven other metallic colours ask $1250.


The Q3 range goes on sale on November 22.


2019 Audi Q3 pricing*

35 TFSI (a) $46,400
Launch Edition (a) $52,750

*Excludes on-road costs

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