Audi's smallest crossover model enters its fourth model year in 2018, and what we expect will be the last for this first-generation model as the company readies a redesigned version.
Going up against the likes of the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, the Q3 brings Audi's straightforward styling language to the compact CUV class; our only criticism appearance-wise is the brand's homogeneous styling makes it tough to identify which Audi model you're looking at from afar.
There are few demerits inside, unless you want to gripe that Audi hasn't migrated its slick virtual cockpit instrument panel into the Q3 yet; we suspect that will come with the next-generation model.
The Q3 comes in three trims (Komfort, Progressiv and Technik) that share a powertrain comprising the brand's well-known 2.0L TFSI turbo four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic transmission. Quattro AWD is optional.
That 2.0L tends to feel more powerful than Audi's power ratings suggest, which is either the result of the engine's generous low-end torque (a pleasant side effect of turbocharging) or of Audi understating the power output, which is equally likely.
Q3 pricing starts at $34,900 in Komfort FWD trim, which comes standard with the likes of xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, eight-way power heated front seats, 10-speaker stereo, 18-inch wheels, LED taillights and Bluetooth. The only notable options at this price point are a power tailgate and the Audi music interface.
Progressiv ($37,700) adds 19-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, power tailgate, passive keyless entry, Audi music interface and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Options here include navigation and sport packages, and the sport group can be augmented with black grille surround, window trim and roof rails.
Technik trim comes in at $42,000 and brings navigation with voice control, LED headlights, dynamic LED taillights, 14-speaker stereo, power-folding side mirrors and Audi side assist. Exclusively available at this level is an S line competition package (as an alternative to the sport package) that bundles 19-inch wheels, steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, Audi drive select, sport seats, sport suspension, black headliner and piano black interior inlays.
Quattro AWD is a $2,500 option in all three trims.
The Q3 is one part of Audi's apparent a-car-for-everyone approach to building a model lineup: the Q5 is pricier but combines a larger interior with standard AWD. The A3 Sportback e-tron is also pricier, but its plug-in hybrid powertrain will use less fuel; meanwhile the A3 sedan comes in less expensive in its entry-level trims, its biggest sacrifice being a less-practical cargo area.
What some might deem missing in the Q3 is a performance-oriented version: Buyers in this class can visit a Mercedes showroom and drive away in a 375-hp, AMG-tuned version of the GLA class.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed