The Audi Q3 rides on the capable chassis found in Volkswagen's Tiguan and draws its power from a 200-horsepower direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The engine is mated to a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic, and front-wheel-drive is standard, while Audi's capable quattro all-wheel-drive system is optional. Audi claims the Q3 will hit 60 mph in 7.8 seconds on its way to a 130-mph top speed.
Handling is thanks to a 5-link front suspension and trapezoidal-link rear, with 12.6-inch ventilated disc brakes to stop the front wheels and 11.1-inch discs in back. Inside there is seating for five and more than 48-cubic-feet of cargo space with the rear seatbacks folded.
Two trims -- Premium, and Sport Premium -- are offered, and all are very well equipped. Standard features on the Premium include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights and daytime running lights, xenon headlights, rear parking sensors with a rearview camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers, leather upholstery with 12-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity with streaming audio and a panoramic sunroof.
The Sport Premium trim adds heated power folding mirrors, a power tailgate with programmable presets, heated front seats, and an upgraded music interface. Navigation is optional on Premium and Sport Premium trims. On the Premium Q3, the Convenience Package adds keyless entry and Audi's digital music interface. A Sport Plus Package includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a black optic exterior kit, roof rails and Audi Drive Select, which provides different modes for throttle, transmission and steering inputs for varying conditions and driver proclivities.
All Q3s come equipped with several airbags, anti-lock braking, electronic stability control and traction control, a tire-pressure monitor and hill descent assist.
The first-generation Audi Q3 made its way into the US in 2015, as buyers turned their interest to subcompact luxury SUVs. Trouble was, it started selling in Europe in 2011, so by the time it arrived here, it wasn't exactly new, leading it to feel like somewhat of an afterthought. That's set to change with the arrival of the second-generation Q3, which will go on sale in the US next year. It's better suited to compete, and with a segment that's even hungrier than it was, I think it'll go over well.
The Q3's exterior is much sharper than before, with some serious side sculpting above the wheels and some slick LED running lights up front. Sadly, Audi confirms that my tester's two-tone lower panels will be body-colored in the US. Lame.
The subcompact SUV segment demands some lighthearted attitude, and the 2019 Q3 delivers in one interesting way. Cars optioned with the bright pulse orange paint job also receive a dash of microfiber color on the dashboard and door-panel armrests. Audi of America is still determining packaging for US-spec models, so it may not come Stateside, but I certainly hope it does. The Volvo XC40 has an entire carpet in nearly the same hue, after all.
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