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2019 Audi Q3 review: A long Q is building
THE Audi Q3 first appeared in 2011. Back then, before the crossover craze hit the frenzy that only just seems to be peaking, it was Audi's smallest sport utility vehicle (SUV).
Fierce competition in the segment, not to mention its own little brother the Audi Q2, has forced the Q3 to grow up, and out.
This means the second-generation Q3 is now 4.5 metres long, almost 10cm longer than it used to be. Accordingly, the space inside has increased, too. Unlike before, the Q3 now offers all occupants the room they would expect from a crossover, with rear passengers receiving notably improved legroom.
Transplant a driver into the Q3 from a more expensive Audi, such as the A8 luxury limousine, and the experience is still very familiar. The cockpit has two screens, a 12.3-inch virtual instrument display, and a new 10.1-inch touchscreen for infotainment functions.
It's the same case with the car's appearance. To match the bigger canvas, the Q3 has familiar elements from Audi's most recent design language. That includes a larger, more imposing "Singleframe" grille, and segmented lamps front and rear.
From behind the wheel, the Q3's maturity shows in its increased refinement (despite a bit of thump from the large, 18-inch wheels), neutral handling, and chassis behaviour that leaves its small car roots behind.
The model tested here has a Europe-market 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, but Audi Singapore says we will receive a 1.4-litre model with very similar performance figures instead.
On Germany's wide autobahn it can feel a little underpowered, but that means it'll translate well back on Singapore's roads, where high speed is much less of a priority than fuel consumption. In fact, despite its increased mass and footprint, the Q3 is more efficient than it used to be. Judging from its overall competence, it seems to have avoided any growing pains.
Audi Q3 1.5 TFSI
Engine 1,498cc, turbocharged in-line four
Power 150h=p at 5000-6000rpm
Torque 250Nm at 1500-3500rpm
Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
0-100km/h 9.2 seconds
Top Speed 207km/h
Fuel Efficiency 5.8L/100km
Agent Premium Automobiles
Price S$168,800 with COE (estimated)
Available 2019 (1.4 TFSI version)