When the Audi Q3 first came out in the US in 2015, it was frankly uninspiring. It was supposed to highlight the preeminent status of the Audi brand in the ever-growing luxury-subcompact market.
But it didn’t really make a good impression. Its platform was ancient. The looks of the interior seemed as embarrassing as the “bachelor’s pads” of the 1970s. The exterior styling was as bland as tofu.
Fortunately, Audi does have a good track record of fixing boo-boos, and so they’ve made rather crucial changes in the 2nd generation Q3. Here are some upgrades that make it an infinitely better buy than its predecessor:
These are perhaps the most important improvements in the Q3. The changes include:
· The old (and virtually obsolete) PQ35 platform has finally been replaced. Now you get the MQB architecture from the Volkswagen Group and it’s much more versatile.
· This new Q3 is bigger. It measures 176.5 inches long, so it’s 3.7 inches longer than the old one. Most of the length increase is due to the elongation of the wheelbase to 105.5 inches. The height and the width also stretch by an inch each, so overall this is now approaching the size of the Q5.
· You get a turbocharged 2-liter inline-4 with 2 power output options. You can pick the base version with 184 HP and 236 lb-ft of torque, or you can go with the better 228 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque. In the US, the only transmission available will be an 8-speed automatic.
· There won’t be a front-drive version, and AWD will be standard.
· In the US, the Sport and adaptive-damper packages available overseas won’t be available to cut down on costs. Only the regular suspension will be available, but even this is a vast improvement on the old version. The longer wheelbase offers mostly smooth rides, and that’s with 20-inch wheels. With smaller wheels measuring 18 or 19 inches, the ride will undoubtedly be smoother.
· The steering requires minimal effort, and the Q3 changes directions agilely and with the very little body roll. The soft brakes have also been replaced with a firm easy pedal that makes it easy to modulate.
The feel inside the Q3 cabin is thankfully modern as well.
· The seating position has now been much improved, and you get leather seats, lots of space, and a nice panoramic sunroof.
· The standard digital gauge cluster measures 10.3 inches though you have the option of switching to the 12.2-inch Virtual Cockpit configurable instrument panel.
· The dash-mounted infotainment display measures 8.8 inches, and again there’s an option for the 10.1-inch display. The haptic touchscreen is here, and it responds quickly. You get views from the backup camera as well as an available bird’s eye view in HD.
· There are analog HVAC controls as well.
· The rear seats offer ample space even for adults, with an adjustable recline function. The fore and aft movement allows for 5.9 inches of adjustments.
· The cargo holds 19 cubic feet, and that’s 2 cubic feet bigger than the previous Q3 cargo space.
· The automated emergency braking feature is standard, and you can also choose among many different systems for automatic driver assistance.
This now looks way more interesting than the boring Q3 look we all had to endure previously. Audi’s current design trend leans toward upright and aggressive aesthetics, and that’s what you also get in the new Q3.
· Each of the 2 trim levels comes with a unique fascia.
· The nose in the base model is still somewhat subdued, but in the S line you get larger faux air intakes and a chiseled splitter. This look isn’t like the gentle Clark Kent—it looks appropriately mean approaching Batman’s menacing vibe.
· Standard equipment includes full-LED lights at each of the 4 corners.
To say that this Q3 is a vast improvement over the previous generation is actually an understatement. It’s as if it’s a new model, and so it is—Audi basically rebuilt the car from the ground up. This isn’t a European version that’s been tarted up to somehow suit American tastes. It’s been purposely designed for American preferences and tendencies.
So when you get this, you won’t have a bland-looking vehicle that somehow disappears into the background like wallflowers at a teen party. It looks much better at first glance, and you get to appreciate it more the longer you look at it. It’s suitably aggressive.
The features inside emphasize that this is in fact a luxury crossover, even if it is an entry-level car in the market. It drives comfortably, and the handling offers precise steering that should come in handy on twisty roads. Hopefully, the arrival of this new Q3 will erase that embarrassing first generation Q3 from our memories.
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