Diesels and crossovers go hand-in-hand, but Audi has just introduced a new entry-level petrol Q3 that it’s hoping will tip the balance slightly.
The Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI is available only with front-wheel drive, has 148bhp and emits a mere 137g/km of CO2. That’s exactly the same as for the front-wheel-drive 138bhp 2.0 TDI Q3, but since company buyers pay less in tax to run petrol cars, there’s a saving for business users here.
Fuel economy is 47.9mpg, which is a little down on the 54mpg of the entry-level diesel – but the TFSI has plenty of other benefits. For a start, it’s far more refined than the rattly diesel. There are no vibrations through the pedals or the gearstick, and it’s smooth and hushed right up to the far side of the rev dial.
It’s also as quick as you’ll ever need, doing 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds. That’s nearly a second faster than the diesel, and acceleration is more progressive than the noticeably turbocharged diesel, which picks up suddenly in the mid-range.
Aside from the new engine, this Q3 is just like any other. It feels grown-up, refined and comfortable. Cars in S line trim like ours come with the suspension from SE cars as standard, but you can swap it for the lower, firmer S line set-up at no extra cost. Our choice is to stick with the softer springs; they’re much better at soaking up ridges and bumps.
Also, it’s not as though the standard suspension completely robs the Q3 of its handling fun. In fact, there’s plenty of grip and stability, with the direct steering emphasising the feeling of control you get from behind the wheel.
You can’t argue with the interior’s build quality, but the design is starting to look outdated compared with Audi’s more recent models. There’s no touchpad MMI, the heater controls are from the brand’s previous generation of cars and the flip-up infotainment screen looks chunky compared with the one in the new A3.
More importantly, this model now becomes the cheapest Q3. If you do opt for the S line, it starts from £26,625, compared with £28,350 for the slower 138bhp 2.0 TDI.