Audi Q3 S-line 35 TFSI S-tronic review

She is turbo blue. Very, very blue.

Audi Q3 S-line 35 TFSI S-tronic

She is seriously sassy and has a pair of hips to make das Bavarian Mädchen blush.

Audi’s Q3 is a thing of beauty, from the neatly ironed crease lines to her alcantara trimmings to her stunning dashboard with its oh so smart displays.

Altogether a great work of design. Although I must say I think her mouth is a little big, but let’s not quibble.

Let us also put the elephant in the room to pasture. What with the R152k optional extras fitted to our review car the sticker price is a little eye watering at three quarters of a million Rand, for a subcompact luxury crossover SUV designed for on-road use.

If you have the cash lying around and your heart says yes, you will enjoy this car.

Q3 enjoying the gravel in Betty’s Bay.

I found the engine somewhat laggy and the gearbox a little undecided, but if you are “rustig” and not in a rush, all is well.

Audi claims a 0-100 kph sprint time of 8.9 seconds and it’ll run to a top speed of 204 kph. The Q3 sits well on the road like all Audi’s do and the steering is satisfactory. I got around 7.5L/100km on the open road and around 12L/100km in town, partly perhaps because the little 1.4 engine which puts out 250Nm and 110kW, is working hard (but willingly) to move the relatively large body. Hopefully Audi will add the 2.0L engine soon to the line up. Now that will be a winner.

Audi have chosen wisely in the wheels department, the 18inch 235 x 55 tyres 100v from Hankook give just the right amount of feedback without becoming harsh. A very good compromise and just another example of how well thought out this car is from a design and styling point of view.

The cabin is a pleasure to be in. There are 3 trim levels: Standard, Advanced and S Line. The MMi (multimedia) selector wheel of previous Audis, which was good for inputting instructions when the car was bouncing along a road, has been removed. Personally I think the large touchscreen, good as it is, at the expense of real buttons is a bridge too far. It’s hard to hit the icons with a jiggling finger, however sharp the image may be. One tends to leave fingerprints on the screen as well. Thankfully the climate control retains actual knobs. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster is standard and includes all the information you really need.

The rear legroom is good, partly because the seats can slide backwards or forwards depending what your greatest need is – boot space or leg room. In fact the cabin feels quite roomy.

There are four equipment and two styling packages.

The Comfort package at R21 500 adds electric seats with 4-way support and heating, electrically opening and closing boot gate, and park distance control. The Technology package adds MMi navigation, virtual cockpit plus and ambient lighting at R33 500.

For R34 900 you can get the Sport Package which will give you 19 inch cast alloy wheels, 20-spoke V style, Alcantara/leatherette combination upholstery, headlining in black and  ports contour leather-wrapped steering wheel, 3 spoke, flat-bottomed, with shift paddles and multifunction plus.

Finally the S line Interior Package offers bespoke S line styling elements which add a distinctively sporty look to the interior for R15 900.The Black package changes bright trim to black while the parking package adds a 360° camera and park assist for R26 500.

Pricing

The basic trim level costs R565 000, the advanced line R585 000 and the S line R599 000.
A five-year or 100 000 maintenance and repair plan is included.

Cars offering similar specification or space include the VW Tiguan, Volvo XC40, Jaguar E-pace, Mercedes Bens GLA, Peugeot 3008, Mini Countryman, Kia Sportage and Mazda CX5.

2019/20 #CarsAwards – powered by WesBank

Category winners: 2019/20 #CarsAwards – powered by WesBank

Adventure SUV: Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Auto

Budget Car: Suzuki        Swift 1.2 GLX

Business Class:               Volkswagen Arteon 2.0TSI 4Motion R-Line

Compact Family Car:      Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI Highline R-Line

Compact Hatch:              Volkswagen Polo 1.0TSI Comfortline Auto

Crossover:                       Audi Q3 35 TFSI S Line

Executive SUV:                BMW X3 xDrive20d M Sport

Family Car:                      Mazda CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Auto

Fun Hatch:                     Volkswagen Polo GTI

Leisure Double-Cab:      Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI Highline 4Motion

Performance Car:           Toyota GR Supra 3.0T

Premium Hatch:             Volkswagen Golf GTI

Premium SUV:               BMW X5 xDrive30d M-Sport

Volkswagen Amarok and Toyota Fortuner have now won the categories Leisure Double-Cab and Adventure SUV ­respectively – for three consecutive years. Suzuki won the Budget Car category with a Swift  for four years in a row.

In no fewer than five of the 13 categories the judges’ favourites did not win, due to the impact of data from the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey. Fifty per cent of the final scores of the #CarsAwards category finalists was determined by the rankings the vehicles’ respective brands achieved in the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey

The Toyota Fortuner (Adventure SUV), Volkswagen Amarok, Arteon and T-Cross (Leisure Double-Cab, Business Class and Compact Family Car) and BMW X3 (Executive SUV) did not score the highest marks from the panel of judges following evaluation, yet emerged victorious because consumers rated their brands’ experiences higher than those of their competitors.

Volkswagen – the only brand to have won at least one #CarsAwards category every year since the programme began in 2015/16 – walked away with the most prestigious accolade. Having won six of the 13 #CarsAwards categories in 2019/20, Volkswagen is comfortably the most prolific category winner (with 16 trophies) in the history of the #CarsAwards programme.

#CarsAwards was conceived to be South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programme; the list of vehicles it recognises is meant to guide car buyers to make the best-informed purchasing decisions… Cars are judged directly against their peers in specific categories, each of which has distinct requirements. What’s more, 50% of the final scores is based on brand-specific after-sales data that incorporate customer feedback from thousands of South African vehicle owners.

Audi Q3 2.0 TDI quattro review

Q3 2.0T TDI quattro® 130kW S tronic

Audi makes interesting cars and the Q3 is very interesting.  The Q3 is a Tiguan/ Golf/ A3 sized vehicle. You want to compare it to the VW Tiguan because it is so closely related, although Audi denies this.

It is a little performance machine with decent road height and a great view and a huge grin factor.

Put your foot down and point it in the direction you want to go and you know why this car exists. It is self explanatory.

As a mom’s taxi curb climber the Q3 fits the bill perfectly. Urban warrior mom material this.

Exterior

Lovely. Except for that face. It looks like a bulldog that has just run into the tyre it was chasing. Somewhat squished. The only saving grace is the lights, with integrated LED daytime running lights.

From the side and the back it is all smoothly flowing lines and steeply rakes windscreen and rear window. I like the normal waistline height. It is right on the button. It is a handsome car.

Interior 

This car, like all Audis, has a beautiful interior. It is a place where I was very comfortable. I like the layout of the dashboard and instruments and the way they feel and look. The subtle texture and colour contrasts of the materials used in the cabin lend it an air of opulence.

There are very few cup holders and storage places compared to its competition. Little things like somewhere to put your sunglasses seems to be a glaring omission.

Seat warmers seem to be a glaring omission on a little luxury car. In fact the seats are a little disappointing. Tiguan’s seats are more adjustable and more comfortable.

Driving impressions

The Q3 handles very sweetly. I found the ride a little harsh and bumpy, but not overly so.

The steering is a little too light and vague for windy roads, but in town it is fine.

Acceleration is nippy to say the least, especially in-gear pull away for overtaking.

Claimed fuel economy is 5.9 litres/ 100 km , acceleration 0 to 100km/h in 8.2 seconds, and top speed 212 km/h. I believe them about the acceleration and top speed. The fuel economy is very optimistic though. I got around 8.2 litres/ 100km around town and with 70% highway use.

The bad

The Q3 is a little expensive for its size and equipment levels to my mind. You can buy better value.

The ride is too firm and choppy, I think. It seems to magnify any road irregularity. The effect is almost harsh.

It does not have too many storage places like cup holders and sunglass trays.

The boot is actually tiny, unless you fold the rear seats down.

The Garmin GPS maps are woeful. It calls Cape Town International airport Tygerberg. Other Cape suburb names are as dodgy. Beware.

The good

I like the little central armrest for the back seat which can open up to load long items in the boot. Nice touch.

The performance is excellent and fuel economy not bad.

The fit and finish is Audi. It is superb.

The look of the Q3, apart from directly in front is to my mind one of the most successful of the present crop of SUV/ crossover type vehicles.

Summary

Competition

Tiguan 2.0 TDI 103kW 4MOTION Track & Field DSG                                        R383 400

Tiguan 2.0 TDI 81kW 4×2 Trend & Fun with BlueMotion Technology             R289 100

BMW x1  xDrive20i Innovations                                                                                R464 500

Land Rover Evoque 2,2 TD  Automatic                                                                     R582 995

Ford Kuga  2.5 Turbo AWD/5-Tronic Automatic                                                    R385 580

The Q3 is poised and well sized for most users. I liked the Q3, but I think the Tiguan and the Kuga are far better value.

If you can afford the petrol Q5 it is asolutely worth it to upgrade. A sublime motor car.

Costs

The car as tested was R502 950. (List price R431 500) This price includes Park assist, automatic lights and wipers and GPS. It excludes cruise control, seat warmers, fully adjustable seats and connections for your iPad.

Warranty 2 years with unlimited mileage.