Finally Audi has a true contender in the entry-level compact luxury SUV segment. The previous generation Q3 was, well, forgettable. This new Q3, however, is fun to drive, packed with high-tech features, and looks great inside and out. A new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine generates 228 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, an increase of 28 horsepower and 51 lb.-ft. of torque over the outgoing Q3. Zero to 60 mph takes just 7.0 seconds. Unique in its class, the Q3 offers Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive as standard, something the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA charge extra for. The Q3 also offers no charge heated leather seats and a panoramic sunroof, both optional with its competitors. Even with the BMW X1’s slight model refresh for 2020, it still doesn’t offer blind spot monitoring, even as an option.
From the outside, we like the looks of the new Q3. At 1.5 inches taller, an inch wider and 3.8 inches longer than its predecessor, the new Q3 looks more substantial and feels it inside too. Inside, the Q3 features an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster alongside an available 10.1-inch capacitive touch display. Yes, you won’t find Audi’s signature lower console control wheel and button array, instead you control the new Q3 using voice commands and the capacitive touchscreen. Thankfully, the new touch screen is super responsive and easy to use. The new Q3 can also be had with an array of safety and driver intervention systems, but one option missing is lane centering, a feature that many commuters have come to appreciate. The Q3 starts at $34,700 and is available at Audi dealers now.