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Next-generation Audi Q3 is here for 2018

Published: 24 July 2018

► 2018 Audi Q3 SUV
► Fresh design and engines
► Plus more tech and space 

Audi’s new small Q3 SUV has arrived, with more kit, more space and a new look. This is the second-generation Q3, primed to take on the Range Rover Evoque, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA. The first-generation sold 1.1m units – sobering context when you think the TT sports car has only sold 600,000 units in 20 years! Keep reading for CAR’s full lowdown on Audi’s baby SUV.

The new design and interior

Unlike the recently-revealed A1, the new Q3 isn’t that much of a revelation on the design front. It’s more of an evolutionary step, albeit with superior proportions, that wipes away the soft, rounded shape of its predecessor for a much more angular look – like the A1, Q8 and A7 etc.

The trademark boxy accents above the wheelarches, an Audi design motif, are very much present and correct, as is the the octagonal singleframe grille. And the new front bumper gets aggressive-looking side vents, though they’re blanked off unless you’re running the high-powered 45 TFSI engine. 

The Q3’s headlights have daytime running lights similar to that of the new A6, and sporty alloys (like those seen on the silver car pictured) have been taken from the outgoing RS6. Wheel sizes span 17- to 20-inches, and the Q5 rolls between 190 and 200mm above the ground. One quirky detail is that no actual exhausts are visible: nothing to do with an electric version, nor the shame of Dieselgate, but supposedly to help create space for rear sensors and to package the tow bar. 

Audi Q3 2018 interior

Inside, there are plenty of clean lines and the MMI touch system seen on Audi’s high-end cars like the Q8, albeit above air-con controls already seen on the current (and, indeed, ageing) A3 hatch. You can reconfigure the homescreen to suit your preferences, and Audi is proud of the 'natural language' voice commands, reckoning the system is on a par with home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa. You can say things like 'I'm hungry' and the screen will suggest places to eat, while 'we need fuel' will call up fuel station prices. Design and S line packs vary the upholstery and colour options inside.

Audi Q3 2018: engines and specs

There are four engines to choose from at launch in Europe. Check out the full specs below:

35 TFSI

  • 1.5-litre petrol with cylinder deactivation
  • 148bhp
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Seven-speed S-tronic gearbox (manual coming later in 2018)

40 TFSI

  • 2.0-litre petrol
  • 187bhp
  • Quattro all-wheel drive
  • Seven-speed S-tronic gearbox

45 TFSI

  • 2.0-litre petrol
  • 227bhp
  • Quattro all-wheel drive
  • Seven-speed S-tronic gearbox

35 TDI

  • 2.0-litre diesel
  • 148bhp
  • Quattro all-wheel drive (FWD due soon after launch)
  • Six-speed manual (S-Tronic due soon after launch)

Audi is also planning on adding a 2.0-litre diesel with 187bhp not long after launch, presumably called 40 TDI.

Audi Q3 blue front tracking

Every Q3 has the brand’s Virtual Cockpit display, Bluetooth, air-con, LED lights, automatic wipers and headlights, lane-departure warning and an adjustable speed limiter.

Along with the standard spec levels, Audi has also confirmed a launch edition when the new Q3 first goes on sale. If you get your order in fast, the special edition model also comes with the S line bodykit with coloured detailing, sports suspension, 20-inch alloys, Matrix LED headlights and a black grille. Sports seats, Alcantara bits and ambient lighting help doll up the interior. Oh, and it’s only available in orange or grey.

The Q3’s new space race

Second-generation Q3 buyers will benefit from an SUV that’s 97mm longer, 18mm wider and 5mm lower. The stretch to 4485mm-long helps spread out the Q2, Q3 and Q5 trio, as well as boosting interior space, in tandem with a 78mm-longer wheelbase. British designer Matt Baggley told CAR: 'The main priority was to give this car a character of its own. The Q2 is the starting point, it's the most expressive of these Q models, and the Q5 is more grown up. The Q3 sits nicely in between.'

Audi Q3 rear seats

The rear seats slide forward and backward with, at the very least, 530 litres of boot space available - 60 litres more than the previous-gen Q3 fitted with a spare wheel. That grows to 675 litres with the rear bench slid all the way forward, and 1525 litres when they’re folded flat. The rear seats are split 40:20:40, allowing a number of configurations to haul different combinations of people and luggage. 

New Audi Q3 2018: price and release date

Audi has confirmed the new Q3 SUV will go on sale in Germany and wider Europe in November 2018. Prices aren’t confirmed yet, but it’s safe to assume a small increase over the previous generation is on the cards – we expect it to be priced from around £29,000 when it arrives in the UK.

Check out our Audi reviews

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

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