On the face of it, the new Q3 looks very similar but on closer inspection I discovered that the new model offers a more daring interpretation of Audi's single-frame grille, with the upper border connecting the headlights, as seen on the new Q7. From the sides, the Q3 remains the same except for newly designed wheels. The changes are more striking at the rear with the taillights sporting a new visual signature that, naturally, includes LED technology. The rear bumper also boasts new lines.
With regards to the interior, there have been minimal changes. The dashboard retains an uncluttered layout, which is nice. A keen eye will notice silver-coloured buttons and a couple of new finishes, but other than that, it's business as usual. The cabin is roomy and well put together.
As far as extra features go, well, there are many to choose from. For example, the MMI Plus navigation system, Audi drive select, blind spot alert, power adjustable front seats, LED ambient lighting, secondary collision brake assist and lane departure warning. The Q3 that I drove was also fitted with Audi’s S-Line kit, which adds extra sporty elements to the exterior and interior but, a word of warning to those looking to kit out their Q3, these extras are not cheap; sure they make driving easier, but they do come at a price.
As for the engine, well the Q3 that I drove was fitted with Audi’s proven 2.0-litre TFSI unit. It’s a turbocharged motor that develops 132kW of power and 320Nm of torque. Power is sent to a quattro all-wheel-drive system via a smooth shifting S-Tronic gearbox. The Q3 does offer an SUV-like feel, thanks to its slightly raised driving position however, it really feels more sedan than crossover, but due to the big sporty rims that were fitted to my test car, I did find it a bit bumpy. It wasn’t as bad as what I thought it would be; I guess that’s the price you pay to look good.
When it comes to the overall package, I will admit, I would have preferred more noticeable updates. It’s a nice car to drive and it offers great quality, but I do sense that it won’t be venturing into the wild anytime soon. Of course, it can get you to that weekend retreat in the bush, but I’d be worried about scratching those fancy rims.
The Q3 feels at home dealing with those irregular speed humps, potholes and pavements that we find in the suburbs and it will swallow up your luggage - and the kids. As for fuel consumption, well, Audi claims a consumption figure of 5.8 litres/100km; I averaged in the region 6.8 litres/100km. Another thing to take note of is the price… at R509 000 the Q3 does carry a premium price tag and that’s without taking into account the cost of extras.