New Audi Q3 breaks cover
The second-generation Q3 shows its impressive credentials to take on a brave new world.
25 July, 2018
Once the baby of Audi’s ‘Q’ family, the Q3 has always punched significantly above its weight – be that in performance, appointment or ability. Now, the second-generation raises the bar again, with a larger, roomier even better equipped vehicle.
Boasting a fully-digital operating system and display concept like that of the larger Audi models and extensive infotainment offerings, the new Q3 has tremendous lifestyle appeal, while new engine solutions, suspensions and a raft of driver assistance systems will strike a chord with those looking for an engaging drive.
The most obvious change is the styling, which is dominated by the larger Audi Singleframe which is divided up by vertical bars, as well as flanked by large air inlets. As with other Audi models, the lights play an integral part in the front end design, available on Q3 in three configurations, with Matrix LED at the top of the list.
For starters, the new Q3 is noticeably bigger than before, measuring 4485 millimetres long, 1856 millimetres wide and 1585 millimetres high. Its wheelbase has been stretched by 77 millimetres for greater internal space and the rear seats can be moved fore/aft by 150 millimetres for greater versatility. This equates to more internal room for passengers as well as plenty of storage space – from 530 litres to 1525 litres depending on the configuration of the rear seats.
...the Q3 has always punched significantly above its weight – be that in performance, appointment or ability...
More aggressive in its styling, the new model takes the Q3 to new heights
The body styling overall is more athletic and muscular, particular as it swells over the wheel arches, a nod to the brand’s quattro heritage, while a long roof edge spoiler, which also flanks the rear window at the side, and steeply raked D pillars of the body line add to the sense of movement – even sitting still.
The interior continues the design of the exterior and mirrors a good deal of the architecture now seen in the brand’s larger, luxury models. The MMI touch display in its high-gloss black glass-look surround as its central element places all displays and controls easily at the driver’s fingertips. Indeed, the operating and display concept of the Q3 has been overhauled from the ground up, completely removing the analog instruments. Even the standard specification includes a digital instrument cluster with a 10.25 inch screen diagonal, which the driver operates using the multifunction steering wheel. With the top-of-the-line MMI navigation plus, the displays appear in the Audi virtual cockpit, which offers a range of additional functions.
There is also a 10.1-inch touch display, and as an option, the driver can choose the larger Audi virtual cockpit plus with three different views, including a new, sportier display. In addition to this new operating system, the Q3 also offers natural-language voice control which, as the name suggests, responds to natural language. In fact, the system will ask questions to clarify any points it doesn’t understand as well as making suggestions based on your instructions – but rest assured, it will always defer to the speaker.
The top-of-the-line infotainment system in the Audi Q3 offers the same technical functions as in the higher segments. Its data transfer module supports the LTE Advanced standard with integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for the passengers’ mobile devices, while the navigation system recognises the driver’s preferences based on previous journeys, allowing it to generate suitable route suggestions.
The Audi connect portfolio ideally supplements navigation guidance with traffic information online, the point-of-interest search and information on parking spaces and service stations appearing directly in the navigation map. The Audi Q3 utilises the Audi fleet’s swarm intelligence to forecast the availability of roadside parking space, to provide information on hazardous spots and current speed limits. Other options include Google Earth and the hybrid radio, which automatically switches between FM, DAB and the online stream to ensure optimum reception at all times. The Audi Q3 is even more tightly integrated with the myAudi app, seamlessly connecting a smartphone to the car. The customer can, for instance, transfer navigation routes and the smartphone calendar to the MMI and locate where the Q3 is parked.
The Q3 also offers the likes of the Audi phone box, while the Audi smartphone interface links customers’ iOS and Android smart phones and places their Apple Car Play or Android Auto environment on the MMI display. Also available is the Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System turning the Q3 into a veritable concert hall on wheels.
At launch the Q3 will be offered with four engines ranging in output from 110kW to 169kW. Three petrols and one TDI option, these will be mated to either a six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic transmission, with powered delivered via front-wheel drive or quattro depending on the model.
The Audi Q3 utilises the Audi fleet’s swarm intelligence to forecast the availability of roadside parking space, to provide information on hazardous spots and current speed limits
It also features park assist, which allows the driver to ‘hand over’ the steering to the Q3 in tight parking spots and monitor the manoeuvre via the four 360 cameras
The driving dynamics are further enhanced with the addition of the Audi drive select dynamic system, allowing the driver to select from six profiles, from comfort to dynamic - the system influencing the optional suspension with damper control, where sensors measure the movements of all four wheels as well as the vehicle’s lateral and longitudinal acceleration and adjust the dampers as required.
Off-road, the optional hill descent control makes easy work of difficult gradients, allowing the driver to simply preset the speed of descent and let the vehicle do the rest.
The Q3 also boasts an extensive array of driver assistance systems, one highlight being the adaptive cruise assist, which incorporates the functions of adaptive speed assist, traffic jam assist and active lane assist. It also features park assist, which allows the driver to ‘hand over’ the steering to the Q3 in tight parking spots and monitor the manoeuvre via the four 360 cameras. The driver need only control the throttle, brake and gears.
Extensive and impressive, the new Q3 is a worthy successor to the original 'baby of the Q family' and is set to build on the tremendous popularity of the original Q3 that redefined the premium compact SUV segment when it first appeared. Final specification and pricing will be confirmed ahead of the Australian launch of the new Q3 in the middle of 2019.
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