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In-depth reviews

Audi Q3 review - Engines, performance and drive

Much improved ride comfort makes the latest Audi Q3 a real contender for class honours

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£35,945 to £51,400
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The previous generation Audi Q3 was definitely compromised when it came to ride comfort, but this latest version is much improved. Even if you choose the big alloy wheels and lower suspension of the S Line, the car cushions bumps really well and in fact, offers one of the most comfortable rides in its class.

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Adaptive damping was a standard feature on the now discontinued Vorsprung trim and is better still if you wish to track down a used example. However, the Sport suspension doesn’t crash over potholes, but it does ensure the body stays rigid and can cause an unsettling, bouncing sensation around town. It’s better the faster you go, smoothing out at motorway speeds.

The Q3 feels as stable on the road as you’d expect from an Audi, and body roll is well controlled during cornering. But while it has good turn-in response to steering inputs and terrific grip, it’s ultimately not as engaging to drive as a BMW X1. There’s a certain numbness about the Audi’s steering feel, which leaves you feeling less connected to the road.

Refinement is very impressive, and the Q3 is a great cruising machine, but the transmissions are a little bit of a let-down. The manual gearbox has a slightly clunky feel, while the seven-speed dual clutch S tronic auto is disappointingly slow to respond at times.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

The entry-level petrol car is the 35 TFSI which uses a 148bhp 1.5-litre turbo, and comes with front-wheel drive and the choice of S tronic seven-speed auto or six-speed manual gearboxes. The 0-62mph time is between 9.2 and 9.6 seconds depending on spec.

There’s also a 2.0-litre petrol engine available in either 187bhp 40 TFSI or 227bhp 45 TFSI guise. They share quattro 4x4 running gear and a dual clutch auto transmission, reaching 62mph from rest in 7.4 and 6.3 seconds, respectively.

The 35 TDI and 40 TDI models share a 2.0-litre engine in 148bhp and 187bhp configurations, and acceleration figures are on a par with similarly rated petrols.

Somewhat ahead of the pack is the 394bhp RS Q3, which manages the 0-62mph sprint in 4.5 seconds. The new 45 TFSI e plug-in hybrid takes 7.3 seconds and has a top speed of 130mph.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    35 TFSI Sport 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £35,945

Most Economical

  • Name
    35 TDI Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £38,770

Fastest

  • Name
    45 TFSI 245 Quattro S Line 5dr S Tronic [Leather]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £45,120
Executive editor

Paul was employed across automotive agency and manufacturer-side sectors before joining Auto Express in 2020 as our online reviews editor. After a brief sojourn at a national UK newspaper, Paul returned as executive editor where he now works closely with our commercial partners.

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