Audi A3 Review

Find out more about the Audi Q3 in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • High-quality interior
  • Large boot
  • Classy design


  • Disappointing automatic gearboxes
  • High prices
  • No hybrid option
Model review

As soon as Audi introduced its first SUV with the Q7 in 2005, it soon realised the value of these models, which are now an absolutely integral part of the German firm’s line-up.

The ‘Q’ range expanded with the Q5 in 2009, and a couple of years later, along came the Q3 – the first ‘affordable’ Audi SUV. Promising the same quality as larger Audis, the Q3 delivered with a classy look and upmarket interior, and it went on to become a big hit for the firm. Audi would later expand the range with a smaller Q2 and flagship Q8 variant as well.

It would become the first Audi SUV to be badged as an ‘RS’, with the thrilling Audi Q3 adding another dimension to this family SUV. Two revisions came along – the first in 2014 and the second in 2016 to help the Q3 remain fresh against key rivals, such as the Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes GLA and BMW X1 in this ultra-competitive segment.

Latest model

While the first-generation was still proving a popular and classy option, even after seven years on sale, by 2018 it was showing its age – most notably with its design and interior. But late in 2018, a new version was ushered into the line-up, which came with a more prominent design that took design cues from the large Q8 in particular.

The interior is also a step up, as gone is the pop-up media screen of its predecessor and in place is a large 10.1-inch touchscreen, while digital dials appear on all versions. This new Q3 also grows in size – being both wider and longer than its predecessor, which allows for more space in the interior than before.

Also new on this Q3 was the introduction of a sleeker ‘coupe’-like Sportback bodystyle, which brings cooler styling, if reductions in practicality. Both versions of the Q3 are now available in sporty RS guises, too.

Value for money

Next to mainstream crossovers, the Audi Q3 might look expensive, but it’s worth remembering that it's a much more premium offering than the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga. Prices for the Q3 start from £31,885 – making it more expensive than the BMW X1, cheaper than the Mercedes GLA and roughly the same as the Range Rover Evoque.

That gets you a model in Sport trim, which is really well-equipped – including a large touchscreen, 18-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights. Sport and S line trims are the best to go for, though, as Edition 1 and Vorsprung are too expensive to recommend. Sportback models command a price increase of up to £3,550 (depending on trim) – so it’s worth considering if it’s worth paying the extra for less practicality.

On the used market, used Q3s start from as little as £7,500, but even on the latest shape there are some discounts to be had. We saw a one-year-old Sport model with the 2.0-litre diesel engine for sale for £24,000, which is a big chunk off the list price when new. S line models are more desirable, so expect to pay at least £25,500 for one of the same age.

Looks and image

The Audi Q3 has always been a model that’s excelled at offering a high-quality premium image, and this new version makes a big step up next to its predecessor. Even on entry-level Sport models, the Q3 has a bold front end thanks to a large grille, as well as cool LED headlights. If you’re wanting the best looks, though, the latest Sportback version is the one to go for. Its sloping roofline helps to give it that coupe-like image, and it certainly excels in the style department. Just be aware you’ll pay nearly £2,000 extra for the privilege.

The Q3 also has a stunning interior, with all versions getting a large 10.1-inch touchscreen and the brilliant digital dials system to give it a really modern and upmarket feel. The cabin quality is also superb, with a high-end feel throughout. It really is a lovely place to spend time, and helps to justify its inflated price.

Behind the wheel the Q3 feels very grown-up, and by that we mean it feels very refined and largely very comfortable – it’s only top-spec versions with the larger wheels which can feel a touch firm, but not overly so. It also handles well and feels very secure, though it’s not a car bought for driving enjoyment. The only real gripe is with the gearboxes. The manual doesn’t quite fit the Q3’s character and is quite clunky to use, while the seven-speed automatic found with most models can be slow to respond. It’s a slight shame as that’s the only real part of the Q3 that lets it down.

Video review

Space and practicality

The increased size of this latest Q3 has really helped when it comes to spaciousness – not least with boot space, which has increased from an average 420 litres to a class-leading 530 litres. You also get sliding rear seats, too, and with them as far forward as possible, it allows for a superb 675 litres of room. Meanwhile, drop the rear seats completely, and it unlocks 1,525 litres of room. Clever touches, such as bright LED lights in the boot and a parcel shelf that can be neatly stored under the boot floor, also demonstrate the Q3’s usefulness as a family car. There’s also plenty of space in the rear space for four adults, though squeezing a fifth in the middle rear seat could be a struggle.

Choose the Sportback and it’s also more practical than you might expect. The 530-litre boot somehow is exactly the same as the standard model, and while rear headroom isn’t quite so generous as in the standard Q3, adults should still be able to get comfortable, and it’s definitely one of the more useful coupe SUVs.


There’s a good choice of engines in the Q3 line-up, with two diesels and three petrols on offer, though unlike rivals, there’s no hybrid option unfortunately.

The engine range kicks off with a 35 TFSI – a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol unit available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic automatic. With this engine, it’s not the quickest option, and a 9.4 second 0-60mph time feels a bit underwhelming in an Audi SUV like this. If you find it a bit slow, it’s worth upgrading to the 40 TFSI version, which cuts the 0-60mph time down to 7.2 seconds. This uses a 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol unit, which comes with an automatic gearbox. The most powerful Q3 variant available is the 45 TFSI, which uses the same 2.0-litre petrol unit, but increases the power to 227bhp – helping the Q3 to reach 60mph in an impressive 6.1 seconds.

As for diesels, there are the 35 TDI and 40 TDI models to choose from. Both use a 2.0-litre diesel engine, with the former producing 148bhp and the latter 187bhp. A manual or auto gearbox is available on the 35 TDI, which allows the Q3 to reach 60mph in 9.3 seconds, though the 40 TDI just features an automatic gearbox, and can sprint to 60mph in 7.8 seconds.

Running costs

With no hybrid variant, the Q3 might be a bit thirstier to run than rivals – as the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Range Rover Evoque are all available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

 While no Q3 should be especially costly to run, even the most efficient diesel (the 35 TDI) will only average a claimed 42.2mpg, which is a bit disappointing, along with CO2 emissions of 153g/km. The 35 TFSI petrol is also similarly efficient on paper. If running costs are important, we’d stay clear of the 45 TFSI. Audi claims this will return just 31.7mpg, while CO2 emissions of 201g/km seem far too high.

 If you’re moving to the Q3 from a more mainstream rival, it’s worth noting that replacement parts and servicing will likely be a bit more costly, too.

Things to look out for

Despite Audi’s premium billing, its models aren’t always as reliable as you might expect – something that applied to its predecessor. While there’s still a question mark hanging over the current generation’s reliability, it’s worth noting that the Volkswagen Group’s 1.5-litre petrol engine (badged 35 TFSI in Audi’s case) is known for being troublesome in some instances.


The premium crossover/small SUV category has really grown in size and popularity in recent years, with the Q3 facing more rivals now than it did when it first arrived in 2011.

 Key competitors include the BMW X1 or X2, Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes GLA . The Volvo XC40 is also a great alternative to the Q3, too, while if you fancy something a bit left-field, you could have a look at the hybrid-powered Lexus UX, though it’s not particularly practical. The mechanically-similar Volkswagen Tiguan is worth looking at, too, though it doesn’t quite sit in the same premium bubble.

Depreciation warning

While Audis are known for holding their value well, with their premium image and popularity meaning used buyers are happy to pay high prices, the Q3 still depreciates quite heavily. Look for a nearly-new model that’s less than a year-old, and you could still expect to save a good chunk off the list price.

Trims explained

Four trim levels are available on the Q3 – Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.


Plenty of standard equipment comes with the Q3 – including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an electric tailgate and electrically folding door mirrors. It also comes with cloth sports seats, climate control, a 10.1-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and smartphone mirroring and a 10.25-inch digital dials system. Standard safety equipment also impresses, with the Q3 coming with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring, along with rear parking sensors and cruise control.

Prices start from £31,855 (Q3)/£33,610 (Q3 Sportback)

S Line

S line predominantly brings styling changes, such as larger 19-inch alloy wheels and an S line bodykit. The inside also benefits from part-leather sports seats and aluminium interior inlays, along with a black headlining and ambient interior lighting.

Prices start from £33,685 (Q3)/£37,235 (Q3 Sportback)

Edition 1

Upgrade to the Edition 1 to get large 20-inch alloy wheels, Matrix LED headlights and a black styling pack. It also comes with electrically adjustable and heated front seats, leather upholstery and a larger 12.3-inch digital cockpit system.

Prices start from £37,680 (Q3)/£41,230 (Q3 Sportback)


At the top of the range is the Vorsprung, which comes seriously well-equipped, but at a price. Extras include revised 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension, a panoramic sunroof and Alcantara and leather upholstery. You also get a wireless smartphone charging pad, keyless entry and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. A whole host of extra safety kit is added as well – including park assist, rear cross traffic alert, a 360-degree camera system and adaptive cruise control.

Prices start from £43,155 (Q3)/£46,705 (Q3 Sportback)


  1. Available as a standard SUV bodystyle or a coupe-like Sportback
  2. Lots of engine choice…
  3. But no hybrid available
  4. Superb refinement
  5. Large boot
  6. Superb interior
  7. Classy design
  8. Prices start from £31,825
  9. Expensive servicing
  10. A great family SUV, it just comes at a price

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