Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI S Tronic S Line Review
Full Flavoured Favour

clifford chow
11 Feb 2020
 

As an entry premium SUV, the Audi Q3 has to check plenty of boxes. From delivering quality and frills, while balancing on that very narrow pricing tightrope.

Well, step aside (slightly) junior… It took a while before it reached us, but the second generation Audi Q3 is larger than the car it replaces, and takes chonky styling to the next level.

As an entry premium SUV, the Audi Q3 has to check plenty of boxes. From delivering quality and frills, while balancing on that very narrow pricing tightrope.

The new Q3 is larger, wider, and boasts a 2,680mm wheelbase, 77mm more than the first-gen car. Like their flagship SUV, the Audi Q8, the Q3, features pronounced arches (Quattro Arches in Audi talk), which in this case, also fuses up as a shoulderline. In-fact, it apes the Q8 even with its massive six-sided grille, flanked by LED headlights. Other design elements like the quarter glass, behind the Q3’s rear door, common across the Audi range of cars, is included into the Q3’s design DNA.

Opting for the S-Line trim, adds additional dressing up of the bumpers, which in my opinion, are quite pretty. 18” wheels with 235/55 tyres are standard. An upgrade to 19” is available in two designs for a shade below $3,000.

Inside

The centerpiece of the dash is the new single 10.1” Audi MMI infotainment display, nestled within a blackened panel which spans across the driver’s side of the car, and also angled toward the driver. Like the dual-screened A6 and A8, Audi has omitted the rotary dial and touchpad, and in-turn, kept the centre console tidy. Working the MMI is done directly on the touchscreen, and connectivity through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available.

The new Audi Connect Wi-Fi hotspot also ensures seamless connectivity between your mobile and the car, meaning tasks like route guidance details can be transferred easily from your phone to the MMI.

Little touches like introducing USB C ports, while retaining the older USB A ones, are well thought-through, allowing users time to bridge the standardisation gap. Unfortunately, there is no wireless charging offered with the well-positioned phone tray. 

With heaps of dashboard sculpting, which I dare say, is the prettiest in it class, the Q3’s interior is further bolstered by quality materials used; making the Q3 interior truly a pleasant place to be in. Perhaps if I were fussy, there are some hard door plastics and air-conditioning vent directional sliders, which could be slightly smoother; but these are just some minor faults I could find with the car.

Behind the wheel, the Audi Q3 is equipped with a 12.3” Virtual Cockpit Plus, which now offers three display settings, ‘Classic’, ‘Sport’, and my favourite, ‘Dynamic’; though just for aesthetic purposes, the dynamic display visually gels better with the design of the dash. Front seats have electrical adjusters, though they both do not come equipped with memory settings.

Rear legroom has also improved, thanks to the longer wheelbase. There is enough space for the usual 2.5 adults, and since the car is also wider, it does feel less squishy with a third person in the middle seat. The rear seats can also be slid forward in 40:60 fashion for greater passenger and cargo flexibility; good especially for those who may have a child seat installed, or just in need of added cargo space. In addition, side pockets beside the rear seats are also a plus, and great for storing smaller items like packets of tissue or hand sanitisers.

The kick-activated boot offers 530 litres of cargo space, and with the 40:20:40 seat backs folded, maxes at 1,525 litres. Coupled with a double-level boot floor and stowable cargo cover, flexibility and space is among the best-in-segment.

The Drive

Singapore gets just one engine option for now, a 1.4 litre TFSI engine, which is carried over from the previous car, and good for 150hp and 250Nm from 1,750 to 3,000rpm. There is a high-performance RS-badged one available elsewhere, which uses that lovely 2.5 litre 5-cylinder also found in the RS 3 (Audi? Nudge nudge).

Drive to the front wheels is via a 6-speed dual clutch-transmission. Interestingly enough, while the Q3 is a front-drive SUV, it does come with an Off-Road drive mode, which is a good thing, just in-case you have the urge to take your car off the beaten path, and are in need of a little more traction. 

Of the countless number of cars we have test driven, it is quite strange that the new Q3 does not come with a Start-Stop function; then again, while the system is intended to save on fuel, it can get rather annoying at the lights.

Speaking about fuel figures, the Q3 does return a combined 13.9km/l. This could be slightly better if Audi had included the ability for the car to coast, which it had strangely not included.

Apart from a little inherent lag before the turbocharger kicks in, the Q3 accelerates readily, especially when in ‘Dynamic’ mode, and makes 100km/h in 8.9 seconds. Push the engine harder though, and you can tell that it is built to perform to the upper reaches of its mid-range, and it does get a little flatter after 4,000rpm. 

Pitch the Q3 into a corner, and you’d be pleasantly rewarded with a suspension which holds up well, and there isn’t too much roll. Over speed bumps however, that bit of stiffness in the suspension does come across as rather jarring.

Cabin insulation is well sorted, apart from some minor road noise from those large tyres. Overall, ride quality is very good, and so is ride comfort.

Our Thoughts

The Audi Q3 with the S-Line trim here goes for $172,800*. But we believe the car to go for is the lower-trimmed model which goes for $158,800*, you would not be missing out on too much.

Competition in this segment comes from the recently refreshed BMW X1, the out-going Mercedes-Benz GLA, Volvo XC40 and the Lexus UX. While sub-luxury branded cars like the Volkswagen Tiguan, and Mazda CX-5 offers up more space for less coin.

*Accurate as at 11 February 2020

In Summary

We Like

Well built with good quality. How it drives. Well equipped. Lovely styling. No Start-Stop function.

We Don't

No Start-Stop function - wait, that’s a good thing. Fuel economy could be better. No standard wireless charger.

Verdict

The new Q3 delivers so much more than the previous car. In a market saturated by so many offerings, Audi’s premium compact SUV does stand out, and delivers very well.

Car Loan Calculator - Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI S Tronic S

SGD 182,800 (6 Aug 2020)

This car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1395cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10:1
Bore x Stroke (74.5 x 80)mm
Power 148bhp
Torque 250Nm
Power to Weight 95.8 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 8.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 207 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.1 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4484 x 1856 x 1616) mm
Wheelbase 2680 mm
Kerb Weight 1545 kg
Boot Capacity 530 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs