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Thami Masemola
Date published: 04/09/2019
Tags: Audi; Q3; New Generation; Launch; Mzansi
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Audi Q3 launched

Audi has launched the new-generation Q3 to the South African market. One of the brand’s most important models in terms of sales, the Q3 represents one of the fastest-growing segments in the market, which is the compact premium SUV segment. Over 1 million units of the previous model have been sold globally, of which about 9 700 were to South Africans. With projections pointing towards the rise of SUV sales, the new Q3 is poised to take advantage and do better than its predecessor.

Audi’s new octagon single frame grille design is making its way into all the brand’s SUVs, and the Q3 is the latest to benefit from it. Aggressive, confident, attractive, is basically how we would describe it. The new car is fitted with swivelling LED headlights standard, while Matrix LEDs are available as optional extras. Different trim levels will determine if the grille is framed in chrome or black. The side profile shows a waving shoulder line, while the back end sees new LED rear lights and hidden exhaust tailpipes.

In terms of dimensions, the new Q3 is some 4.84 metres long, 1.8m wide, 1.59m tall and has a 2.68m long wheelbase. Pretty much all the dimensions are more than the previous car, except the height, which is now 5mm flatter. That makes sense when looking at it from the side profile. However, Audi has increased knee and headroom. There is almost more boot storage space at 675 litres when the rear seats are up, and 1 525 litres when they are folded flat. The rear seats can also be slid back and forth by 15cm in order to increase rear legroom. Incidentally this is about the same length that long-wheel-base (LWB) versions of most big luxury cars gain over their normal siblings. Buyers can opt for the electric tailgate which can also be opened via a swing of the foot under the boot.

Whilst inside, the Q3 looks to be vastly improved from its predecessor. Better material has been used to furnish the interior, even in the standard car. With a tick of some options, one can truly turn the car into a personal art piece. For example, we drove a model specified with an orange Alcantara finish along some of the interior areas. It brought a very attractive ambiance into the cabin.

The latest version of the MMI infotainment system makes its debut in the Q3. So far we have seen the same system in the Q8. Here it comes with either a 22.3cm or 25.6cm touch screen, depending on the model and specs. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit measures some 26cm and displays all sorts of information, such as maps, speed, revs, time, fuel range and others. Satellite navigation provider HERE includes features like real-time traffic warnings and 3D map views among others. Of course traditional connectivity solutions are part of the package, and these include USB ports, Bluetooth, now joining Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Those with enabled smart phones can even charge them wirelessly. A 10-speaker, 180W sound system comes standard, but one can get a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with 680W instead.

In Europe the Q3 was launched with several engines, but here in Mzansi, only one engine model, the 35 TFSI, is being made available for now. At least two more have been promised. The one we have is a 1.4-litre TFSI petrol that produces 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque to the front wheels (no quattro). It is paired to a 6-speed S tronic automatic gearbox that enables it to sprint from 0 – 100km/h in 8.9 seconds, reaching a top speed of 204km/h.

During our drive in the George/ Knysna area we experienced different types of routes, including the freeway, city/ town roads, as well as gravel. The Q3 remained composed throughout, absorbing road imperfections with relative ease. The engine is not suited for performance and will struggle with accessing power in some instances. However, under everyday or cruising conditions, it will do just fine. A fuel average consumption figure of 5.9 litres per 100km is listed.

Audi is right in the mix with the Q3, which as previously shown, is one of its segment’s leaders. South Africans have bought into it and the new car will undoubtedly shift some good units, as long as its launch prices hold for a while.