Let’s talk about the 2019 Audi Q3
When asked to write about the sport utility segment, I often find myself outing myself as ‘anything but an enthusiast.’ Bottom-line, the majority of offerings within the segment just don’t do it for me, personally. In a general sense, I don’t care for the bland design philosophy of such vehicles, and I abhor the kitchen-sink mentality that crams in way too many features. To me, the latter causes them to feel less refined, falling victim to the trappings of an all inclusive approach. On one hand, I could offer my tendencies up as ‘truth in advertising,’ ensuring that you’re getting a more critical look at a segment whose unquestioning enthusiast base borders on sycophantic. But, on the other hand, such assignments have also forced me to give credit where its due. It has both informed and enlightened my pre-existing bias, showing me that I am able to appreciate a number of crossovers and SUVs, be it for their inspired styling (looking at you Mazda), Safety features (*ahem* Honda & Toyota) or success at incorporating affordable technologies (that’s you, Chevy). In turn, I do my best to celebrate the automakers who manage to ‘get it right’ and create a truly compelling offering (regardless of whether or not I think the vehicle looks a little bit like a doorstop). And now, courtesy of the 2018 Paris Motor Show, I have to pick my jaw up off the floor to admit that I am genuinely awed of the 2019 Audi Q3. What is it about this 2nd gen offering that makes me sit up and take notice of a vehicle I’ve chosen largely to ignore for the better part of the last decade? Well, let’s take a closer look, counting down 5 reasons why the new Q3 has made such an immediate impact.
1. Design Upgrade
While the wraps have been off the Q3 since late summer, it was Audi’s Paris showing that made us sit up and take note. Built on Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix, the new Q3 sets itself apart from predecessors and stablemates in two primary ways. First, it’s larger than the Q2. At 176.5 inches the Q3 is now 3.8 inches longer than that which came before it, as well as a full inch wider and .2 inch lower. Second, it boasts a far more sporty aesthetic than its predecessor.
Flowing outwards from Audi’s signature octagonal single-frame grille, are restyled LED lights, and aggressively restyled bumper and large side air inlets which infuse the Q3 with a welcome sense of masculinity. That in-your-face design philosophy carries around to the rear fascia, ensuring that it all feels on-brand while garnering a genuine sense of freshness. And if there is an option between chrome or blacked-out accents, we’d personally choose the latter, but the car looks damn good either way.
3. Powertrain Options
Internationally, the Q3 will be offered in four different engine configurations, one of which is diesel. All are turbocharged four-cylinder direct injection units, and power ratings range from 150hp to 230, making it a confident performer. In terms of transmissions, a 6-speed manual comes standard with a fast-shifting 7-speed making an appearance as well. The option of either front-wheel drive or Quattro AWD is also on the table, giving us plenty of reasons to want some windshield time with this next-gen offering.
3. Sleek & On-Brand Cabin Design
While any affectation for Audi offerings is casual, I have rarely found anything to criticize in terms of cabin design. Audi excels at refinement, and the 2019 Q3 is no exception. Strong material choices and a more reserved approach lend the fore-cabin a sleek appearance, devoid of the clutter seen in lesser offerings. Elongated, horizontal styling echo Bavarian sensibilities with a split-level design, while the race-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel amps it up with an athletic vibe that feels reflective of the exterior aesthetic.
Built out of an 8.8-inch touchscreen interface, the infotainment system of the Audi Q3 is both iPhone and Android compatible, both for Bluetooth connectivity and music streaming. Controls are the perfect blend of analog and touchscreen, are intuitively placed and speak to ease of use. We’ll expand on additional technologies below, but the Q3 manages to tick every box on the ‘must-have’ list, without tip-toeing into my oft-criticized ‘trying too hard’ territory.
5. Driver Assistance Systems
What would a 2019 offering be without an ever-growing array of adaptive driver assistive features? Right now, it feels like we’re getting the perfect mix of assistive technologies that enhance the driver experience rather than hinder it. Noting that we might be at a tipping point (with autonomous technology knocking down our door) adaptive speed assist and lane-stay features are welcome, as are 360-degree camera arrays and park assist.
But Wait. There’s More…
Just when you start to think that Audi can’t sweeten the value proposition of the new Q3, comes the expectations of additional variants. Atop the core builds for the 2019 Q3, it’s all but confirmed that a high-performance RS Q3 will follow along with the eventual inclusion of an e-tron plug-in hybrid variant, ensuring that there’s something for everyone in the works. And while tastes are subjective, it’s safe to say that this particular offering (in all forms and flavors) is the most excited I’ve been about an Audi (let alone an SUV) in about as long as I can remember.
What Do You Think?
Perhaps you’re an Audi enthusiast; but if you’re anything like me, you’re more casual in your enthusiasm for the brand as a whole. Perhaps that’s why we’re so pumped to see the 2nd-gen Q3 take American roads next year. It feels like a win, even with plenty of personal separation from the automaker. That said, we’re interested in hearing your thoughts on the 2019 Audi Q3. Are you as enamored with it as we are, or are you more lukewarm? Let us know below.