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2019 Audi Q3 SUV gets more style, space and tech

Audi’s smallest and most affordable crossover looks to be better in every way.

Audi

The newest Q3 has some major upgrades for 2019.

Audi

The Audi Q3 may have only arrived in the US in 2015, but it's actually been around in its current form in other markets since 2011. That makes it something of an elder statesman among today's growing crop of pint-sized luxury SUVs. But that's about to change with the introduction of an all-new, second-generation 2019 Q3, with updated powertrains, a host of new tech and a more modern design.

The overall look of the new model is much more athletic. The grille's vertical bars work well with new LED headlights and small front air intakes. Out back there's a more chiseled bumper and great-looking redesigned tail lamps. Globally, the Q3 will be offered with a choice of 17-, 18- or 20-inch wheels.

The Q3 has grown a bit for 2019, measuring 3.8 inches longer than its predecessor and riding on a 3-inch longer wheelbase. This means the Q3 will have more room inside, and rear seat passengers will now have the option of seven different seat recline positions. The back bench can also move fore and aft a total of six inches. And with the seats upright, you'll find 23.8 cubic feet of cargo space -- a nice improvement over the 16.7 in the current model. Fold the seats flat and you'll have 53.9 cubic feet, a 4-cubic-foot improvement over the 2018 Q3.

Three different engines will be available globally, and while unconfirmed, it's fair to expect US-spec Q3s will use Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. This engine will be available in 190- and 230-horsepower ratings abroad, combined with respective torque outputs of 236 and 258 pound-feet. We're hoping its the latter, larger numbers that'll be found in the US-spec model and will update this story when we find out for sure.

Regardless of power output, the 2.0T engine will mate to a 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission in overseas models, and there's no reason to assume otherwise for North American models. Audi also says this engine will be available exclusively with Quattro all-wheel drive.

The new Q3 gains more mature looks and a longer body.

Audi

The Q3 will be available with automatic damping control, adjusting rates on the fly, or a sport suspension. Audi will also offer a "dynamic handling system" with six drive modes: Auto, Comfort, Dynamic, Offroad, Efficiency and a choose-your-own-adventure Individual.

Audi's excellent 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster makes its way into the 2019 Q3, though you'll have to spec a higher trim level in order to get this tech. In the center stack, base cars will use an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, with a larger 10-inch setup as an option, running a single-screen version of the latest MMI infotainment system found in pricier models like the A6 and Q8.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will both come standard, and the Q3 will have two USB ports up front, one of which has USB-C compatibility for quicker charging. Two additional USB ports and a 12-volt outlet will be available for backseat passengers. A Wi-Fi hotspot is also available.

The Q3 will now be available with Audi's Virtual Cockpit technology.

Audi

Europe will get Audi's Connect portfolio with "swarm intelligence," where cars can report road and weather hazards to other vehicles, and even report the probability of open parking spaces in certain cities. A cool bit of tech, for sure, but it's unclear whether or not this will make it to the US.

What every Q3 will get, however, is forward emergency braking, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert. Available adaptive cruise control features traffic jam assist and active lane assist, helping the driver to stay centered in the lane and keep a safe following distance behind a lead car. The Q3's optional lane-change warning can not only detect cars in your blind spot, but also those that are approaching at a high rate of speed.

The first Q3s will hit European dealerships in November, with US sales expected to follow thereafter.