We test the new Audi Q3 35 TFSI (S-line package) to see if the popular Q3 can hold onto its market share.
Standing 96mm longer and 18mm wider, the second-generation Audi Q3 is not only more spacious, but also more comfortable and practical. A much needed upgrade, especially if you are competing in the most challenging vehicle market in South Africa.
Lots of extras
With a standard price of R585,000, our S-Line packaged Q3 was fitted with a whole lot of optional extras, bringing the total price up to R748,050.
Some of these included: Metallic paint, 19-inch alloy wheels, advanced bumpers, Audi drive select, a Comfort package (storage and luggage package), parking aid plus, electric tailgate, electronically adjusted front seats with heating, 4-way lumbar support), lane departure warnings, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, rear view camera, aluminium roof rails, a leather steering wheel with shift paddles, a technology package (Audi virtual cockpit, navigation, Audi connect, contour ambient lighting and an interior aluminium look), as well as a trailer hitch.
Although all of these extra’s are not really necessary, we did find the comfort package (R27,500), matrix LED headlights (R7,200) and the technology package (R33,500) very helpful.
But let’s not get bogged down by the price of all the extra’s. The more serious question to ask is whether the new Q3 will remain as dominant as its predecessor in the small SUV market.
The new 35 TFSI joins this challenging market segment with a 1.4 litre petrol engine, capable of 110kW and 250Nm. One of its outstanding features has to be the reliable fuel economy, with the fuel consumption averaging around the 7.5 litres / 100km mark. Even in town, the 64 litre fuel tank stayed relatively full.
This is largely due to the 1,395cc engine and 6-speed DSG S-tronic combination. While fuel economy might be something to rave about, the drawback of ultimate ride quality within urban spaces, is not.
The DSG works seamlessly on the open road, with the engine note barely noticeable. However, a steady trip up Chapmans Peak or Ou Kaapse Weg (behind traffic), might bring another tone to this DSG as it struggles to keep comfortable in one gear. Over and down the other side of the pass, the DSG brakes the car, using higher gears.
In principle, this is the correct and (probably) safer way of going down a steep incline, yet, proves to spike the revolutions around the 3,500rpm mark. Luckily, we had the R3,300 paddle shifters fitted to our test unit, helping us to manually switch to higher gears and use the brake instead.
Negatives aside, the new Q3 does prove to bring with it more comfort than the outgoing model. A longer wheelbase also means more storage space (530L), more rear leg room, and improved open road quality.
This is what the Q3 was designed for.
Having tested other category competitors, the new Q3 is well priced and certainly proves to be worth the investment. Bar the unease of the DSG on accelerations and slow-speed comfort, the new Q3 35 TFSI does tick most of the small-SUV boxes.