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Audi Q3 review: 4.0/5

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A new face, fresh options and updated engine range mark out the 2015 Audi Q3 crossover.

Shane O' Donoghue

Words: - @Shane_O_D

Published on: November 27, 2014

Words: - @Shane_O_D

Published on: November 27, 2014

Tech Specs

Model testedAudi Q3 2.0 TDI 150 manual ultra
Engine2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmissionfront-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body stylefive-door SUV
CO2 emissions114g/km (Band A4, €200 per year)
Combined fuel economy64.2mpg (4.4 litres/100km)
Top speed204km/h
0-100km/h9.6 seconds
Power150hp at 3,500- to 4,000rpm
Torque340Nm at 1,750- to 2,800rpm

Audi's Q3 has come in for a little nip and tuck for 2015, with a fresh face, new and improved engines and plenty more tempting options for buyers to choose from. We drove a selection of versions at the launch in Germany.

In the Metal:

If you approach the 2015 Audi Q3 from the rear - and it isn't fitted with the swanky optional 'dynamic turn signal' LED lights with their Knight Rider like movement - you'll struggle to see how it differs to the model that's been on sale since 2011. Up front, however, the makeover is more obvious with a new grille and headlights joined by a matt silver accent. Those lights are Xenon with LED daytime running lamps as standard and they can be upgraded to full LED units.

Inside, very little has changed, and though the MMI infotainment system interface and the climate controls are not the latest generation Audi items they're still of exceedingly high quality. There's decent room for four adults as well, the fifth only hampered by a raised centre section in the rear floor. Boot space is 460 litres to 1,365 litres depending on whether you have people in the back seats and there's a new design of luggage cover as standard.

Driving it:

The 2015 model Q3 is mostly about its engines. They've all been updated with more power and yet better fuel economy and emissions. Audi will also introduce its 'ultra' badge to the Q3 on both petrol and diesel versions. The new 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. It's surprisingly sprightly despite lacking the torque of the diesels and it's much quieter and smoother. Demand for petrol power isn't strong in Ireland, but this version could suit those that stick close to home rather than racking up thousands of kilometres. Saying that, it's not exactly inefficient, as the numbers above reveal. That's thanks to this engine's ability to shut off two cylinders at times where less power is needed - hence saving fuel.

Both 150- and 184hp variants of Audi's 2.0-litre TDI diesel were on hand to try and the more powerful car isn't warranted unless you plan on towing or filling the car with people and their luggage regularly. Admittedly it takes a little more effort in the 150hp version to maintain the same pace, at which time the four-cylinder engine can become a little raucous. The Q3 handles bends more like a regular hatchback than it does an SUV so it's quite adept at tackling a series of challenging corners - if not exactly sporty. The chassis straddles the ride-handling line well overall, offering plenty of composure and stability at high speeds (we saw over 200km/h in most versions on the derestricted Autobahn and it was rock solid) yet good bump absorption. Some cars exhibited a little bounciness over rough surfaces at low speeds, but nothing major.

In terms of the powertrain, a six-speed manual gearbox will be standard and it operates smoothly enough, while the slick seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic will be optional. This helps enhance the Q3's premium aspirations. As does quattro four-wheel drive. While accepting that most Irish buyers will stick with the standard front-wheel drive versions, the all-wheel drive system makes the Q3 even more satisfying to drive - and of course it could be useful in wintry conditions.

What you get for your Money:

At the time of writing, Audi Ireland has yet to confirm pricing of the 2015 Q3, as it won't really arrive here until February. The outgoing car starts from under €36,000 and that's not likely to change very much. We'll update this story once the pricing comes in.

Worth Noting

At the time of writing, Audi Ireland has yet to confirm pricing of the 2015 Q3, as it won't really arrive here until February. The outgoing car starts from under €36,000 and that's not likely to change very much. We'll update this story once the pricing comes in.

Summary