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Audi Q3 35 TFSI: Convenient and classy compact crossover

By Ghaith Madadha - Jul 13,2020 - Last updated at Jul 13,2020

Photo courtesy of Audi

The second smallest of the German manufacturer’s line of various size SUVs and crossovers to suit most tastes, the Audi Q3 is a compact and convenient daily drive proposition, with improved technology, efficiency, driving dynamics and cabin room.

Winner of the 2020 Middle East Car of the Year award’s best Sub-Compact Premium Crossover prize, the second generation Audi Q3 is ideally sized as a young family vehicle with plenty of comfort, combined with compact and easy to manoeuvre dimensions, and during test drive in regional entry-level drive-line guise, proved impressively intuitive and nimble to drive. 

Characterised by its dominantly large octagonal grille with its matte metallic outline, the Q3’s sporty and assertive look echoes that of other Audi SUVs, and features slim squinting headlights with a dramatic LED signature. Meanwhile, big faux side intakes and contrasting lower wheel-arch cladding and sills play up its sportingly rugged styling sensibilities, and prominent wheel-arch surfacing is a direct nod to Audi’s most defining and original 1980s Quattro sports coupe, and the four-wheel-drive system that takes its name from it. Optional S-line 19-inch alloy wheels meanwhile better fill in the muscular wheel-arches.

 

Compact and confident

 

Driven in Q3 35 TFSI, Audi’s compact crossover is powered by a small but comparatively prodigious 1.4-litre turbocharged direct injection 4-cylinder engine. Mounted transversely and powering the front wheels as driven (or all four wheels with bigger engine variants) the Q3 35 TFSI develops 147BHP at 5,000-6,000rpm and 184lb/ft torque throughout a wide 1,500-3,500rpm mid-range band. Channeling power through a slick shifting 7-speed automated dual clutch gearbox, the Q3 carries its moderate if not quite lightweight 1,495kg mass to a 206km/h top speed and achieves frugal 6.6l/100km fuel economy on the combined cycle. 

Perky and punchy given its small displacement, the Q3’s engine is responsive and eager after the briefest moment of turbo lag from idling engine speed, before it dispatches the 0-100km/h acceleration benchmark rather briskly in 9.2-seconds. Pulling confidently from low-end and with a versatile mid-range for easy drivability and on the move acceleration, the Q3 35 TFSI also benefits from low CD0.32 aerodynamics to improve efficiency and reducing wind noise at highway speed. Small yet willing and capable, the Q3’s 1.4-litre engine is also happy being revved hard to deliver its best performance.

 

Nimble handling

 

Driven in front-wheel-drive guise with a quick-shifting dual clutch gearbox and a small turbocharged engine that like to be revved hard, the Audi Q3 TFSI proved more fun than expected for a family-oriented crossover. In fact, without the added weight or mid-corner rear activation of a front-biased four-wheel-drive system, the Q3 felt almost like mid-size hatchback, not too dissimilar to a higher and heavier Volkswagen Golf or its own Audi A3 sister model. Underlining this was the Q3’s quick and direct electric steering, and eager chassis set-up, which delivered both nimble handling and committed cornering.

An agile and fun compact crossover with almost hatchback-like playful characteristics, the Q3 is eager flicking into corners, gripping tidily in, and willing to adjust its weighting and cornering lines throughout. Brisk and confident through successive corners, the Q3 is manoeuvrable and lively, yet delivers good body control and reassuring road-holding through long and fast bends. Meanwhile, its hunkered down, well-adjustable and supportive seating, good front visibility, compact dimensions, chunky steering wheel and well-weighted steering action kept one feeling involved and the centre of the proceedings, when placing it on road through quick corners or slow urban manoeuvres.

 

Sporty style

 

Riding on MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension along with optional 235/50R19 tyres the Q3 felt comfortable and forgiving on all but the most jarring bumps, as driven on mostly smooth Dubai roads. For lumpier and bumpier Jordanian roads, a taller sidewall and smaller alloy wheel option would be better suited. That said, the Q3 was stable on highway and in town, with a refined and reassuring ride, if slightly on the firm side, while vertical movements were settled and its steering was well-damped, and provided good directional stability at speed.

Classy in design and materials inside, the Q3 features a split-level dashboard, plenty of matte metallic accents, black gloss trim and user-friendly controls and layouts. Seating is spacious, comfortable and supportive in front, while rear space is decent and luggage room good. Well-equipped as driven, the Q3 featured Isofix child seat latches, three rear head rests, dual zone climate control, smart phone interface, and parking aid and speech dialog systems and much more. Optional equipment included sporty S-line interior, rear view camera, lane change assistance, rear armrest and Audi’s configurable Virtual Cockpit instrument display screen.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 1.4-litre, turbocharged, transverse 4-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 74.5 x 80mm

Compression ratio: 10:1

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection

Gearbox: 7-speed dual clutch automated, front-wheel-drive

Ratios: 1st 3.19; 2nd 2.75; 3rd 1.897; 4th 1.04; 5th 0.793; 6th 0.86; 7th 0.661; R 2.9

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 147 (150) [110] @5,000-6,000rpm

Specific power: 105.7BHP/litre 

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 184.4 (250) @1,500-3,500rpm

Specific torque: 179.2Nm/litre

0-100km/h: 9.2-seconds

Top speed: 206km/h

Fuel consumption, combined: 6.6-litres/100km 

CO2 emissions, combined: 153g/km

Fuel capacity: 58-litres

Length: 4,484mm

Width: 1,849mm

Height: 1,585mm

Wheelbase: 2,680mm

Track, F/R: 1,584/1,576mm

Overhang, F/R: 896/908mm

Approach/departure angles: 18.8°/16.2°

Loading height: 748mm

Aerodynamic drag co-efficient: 0.32

Headroom, F/R: 1,054/976mm

Shoulder width, F/R: 1,440/1,400mm

Luggage volume, min/max: 530-/1,525-litres

Unladen/kerb weight: 1,495kg/1,570kg

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Turning Circle: 11.8-metres

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/4-link

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/discs

Tyres: 235/50R19 (optional)

 

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