The Q3 stretches 175 inches long and 62.6 inches wide, dimensions that make it roughly the same size as the BMW X1, its closest rival. Up front, the Q3 is instantly recognizable as a member of the Audi family thanks to angular Xenon headlights and a tall, sharp-edged hexagonal radiator grille with chromed vertical slats, a design cue borrowed from the allroad wagon. Body-colored fender flares add a rugged touch to the overall look, while a wide tailgate facilitates access to the cargo compartment.
Like many modern Audis, the Q3 boasts a clean and simple dashboard with a driver-oriented center stack, a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel and an instrument cluster made up of four easy-to-read analog gauges. A standard electronic parking brake frees up space for two large cupholders in the console between the front seats.
The Q3 can be ordered with Audi's multimedia interface (MMI) which includes a seven-inch display that pops up from the top of the dashboard and a configurable five-inch information LCD display that is integrated in the instrument cluster. The Q3 can also be equipped with Audi connect, which offers in-car WiFi for up to eight devices along with real-time localized weather, news and live fuel prices. When paired with the available navigation system, Audi connect includes Google Earth integration complete with panoramic views and high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery.
Audi's smallest crossover offers 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space with five occupants on board. Folding the rear seats down clears up a total of 48.2 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
The Q3 is powered by a 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine that generates 200 horsepower between 5,100 and 6,000 rpms and 207 lb-ft. of torque from 1,750 to 5,000 rpms. Power is sent either to the front wheels or to all four wheels via a six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission that lets the driver go through the gears manually using either the shift lever or the available shift paddles.
The front-wheel drive Q3 can reach 60 mph from a stop in 7.8 seconds and go on to an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph. Opting for Audi's famed quattro all-wheel drive system raises the crossover's 0-60 time to 8.2 seconds.
Fuel economy for the front-wheel drive model checks in at 20 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in a combined cycle. All-wheel drive lowers freeway mileage to 28.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Q3 is offered in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. Each trim is available either with front- or all-wheel drive.
The Premium model packs 12-way power front seats, a panoramic sunroof, LED tail lights, and daytime running lights.
The Q3 Premium Plus comes generously equipped with leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, power windows with one-touch up/down, eight cup holders, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with a digital compass, ambient LED interior lighting, heated front seats, a ten-speaker stereo system, a 90-day trial subscription to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, cruise control, heated door mirrors, fog lights on both ends, aluminum roof rails, a power tailgate, automatic headlights, heated washer nozzles and tinted rear windows.
Opting for the Prestige model adds stainless steel door and trunk sills, Audi's MMI infotainment system with navigation, a six-month subscription to Audi connect, a four-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic, a 14-speaker Bose surround sound system, keyless entry and start, a SD card slot, automatic windshield wipers, parking sensors on both ends, Audi side assist, a rear-view camera and a power liftgate.
The list of option includes Walnut Wood inlays in the dashboard, 19-inch alloy wheels, metallic paint and several upholstery colors. Premium Plus buyers can also order the Prestige model's power tailgate, MMI navigation plus software and the rear-view camera as standalone options.
Finally, both trim levels can be spruced up with a Sport Package that adds a leather-upholstered three-spoke steering wheel, Audi drive select and sport seats for the front passengers.
All Q3s come standard with front, thorax side and curtain airbags for the front passengers, electronic traction control, a tire pressure monitoring system and electronic stability control with an off-road mode.
The Audi Q3 is aimed squarely at the BMW X1. Buyers can also consider slightly larger and more expensive models like the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and the five-door Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and the Lexus NX.