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Audi Q3 2020 review: 35 TFSI

EXPERT RATING
7.6
The Audi Q3 35 TFSI Launch Edition did something we didn't expect, but in a good way

It’s not a Q2. That’s the really small Audi SUV. No, this is a Q3, which is larger but still small and could be exactly the right size for you if you’re on the hunt for little prestige SUVs.

Talking of size, this is where the Q3 35 TFSI kind of caught me out when I first saw the new-generation model when it arrived late in 2019. This one tested is the 'Launch Edition.'

What makes it a launch edition? Is it worth the extra moolah? And what was it that caught me out?

Read on and all will be revealed.

This Q3 tested is the 'Launch Edition.' This Q3 tested is the 'Launch Edition.'

Audi Q3 2020: 35 TFSI S TRONIC
Safety rating
Engine Type1.4L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.2L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$46,400

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The Audi Q3 35 TFSI Launch Edition lists for $52,750, which is $5000 more than a regular 35 TFSI priced at $46,400. The car I tested was fitted with the optional $900 Bang & Olufsen stereo, pumping the price up to $53,650.

Standard features on the Q3 35 TFSI Launch Edition include metallic paint ('Tango Red' on our car), 19-inch alloys, power tailgate, privacy glass, LED headlights, adaptive cruise, leather upholstery, heated front seats, 10.1-inch touchscreen, 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, sat nav, wireless phone charging, 10-speaker stereo, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Featuring 19-inch alloys Featuring 19-inch alloys

Regular Q3 35 TFSIs have 18-inch alloys and don’t get standard features such as heated seats, adaptive cruise, privacy glass, and power seats, and have a six-speaker stereo instead of the 10-speaker sound system. 'Ibis White' is also the only no-cost option paint colour on a normal 35 TFSI.

The value is pretty good on this launch edition and the tech features are all cutting edge. In comparison to rivals such as the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA 180, the 35 TFSI Launch Edition is about $2K more, but the Audi offers better value.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The new-gen Q3’s design is a significant departure from the styling of the previous model. Now more a big-and-tall hot hatch in its looks than the little SUV we used to know, the Q3 is angular and muscly and to me has pleasing proportions.

If anything, the new Q3 looks more like the Q2 than its bigger, rounder siblings such as the Q5 and Q7.

Inside the Q3 feels thoroughly like a mini showcase of everything new in Audi’s portfolio, from that integrated screen to the dashboard controls which light up as your hand approaches, and the cool seat design.

There’s also a coupe version of the Q3 with a more sloping roofline (like a mini Q8). I’m more a fan of the regular Q3’s looks.

How big is the Q3? Well the dimensions show it to be 4484mm long, 1616mm tall and 2024 mm wide (with the mirrors out).

The new-gen Q3’s design is a significant departure from the styling of the previous model. The new-gen Q3’s design is a significant departure from the styling of the previous model.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The 35 TFSI has a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder making 110kW/250Nm with drive going to the front wheels only.

Those figures may look low compared to the offerings from Benz and BMW, and I felt that my test car could have done with more oomph, but the Q3’s engine was still responsive and the six-speed dual-clutch automatic shifts lightning fast.

The 35 TFSI has a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine. The 35 TFSI has a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Officially the Audi Q3 will use 7.3L/100km over a combination of open and urban roads. I drove 163km during my week with it over motorways and urban roads, at various times of day, and measured 18.0L of premium unleaded used. That comes to 10.1L/100km.

How practical is the space inside?   9/10

This is where I was caught out – in a good way. I was amazed by the spaciousness of the Q3, having presumed this car would suit a driver and front passenger well but leave those in the back with next to no room.

But don’t judge a car’s practicality by its looks because rear legroom is excellent and even at 191cm tall I can sit behind my driving position with plenty of space and there’s heaps of headroom, too.

My head didn’t even touch the roof when I sat in the middle seat – can’t say that about many cars.

Rear legroom is excellent. Rear legroom is excellent.

Directional air vents, two mini USB charging ports, a 12-volt outlet, two cupholders, big door pockets and handy moulded plastic tubs on the outboard seats (see the images) round out a very decently equipped and spacious (for the class) second row.

Storage and utilities for charging up front are good, too, with giant door pockets, two cupholders, a decent-sized centre console bin, wireless charger, two USB ports and a 12-volt outlet.

Head, shoulder and elbowroom was also good for me and my amusingly long arms.

As for boot space the cargo capacity of the Q3 is 530 litres, and because the second row slides on rails this can be expanded to more than 600 litres. 

Impressively practical for a small SUV.

The cargo capacity of the Q3 is 530 litres. The cargo capacity of the Q3 is 530 litres.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   9/10

The Q3 received the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2019.

Coming standard is AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance with lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, plus rear cross traffic alert.   

For child seats there are two ISOFIX points and three top tether mounts across the second row.

Under the boot floor is a space saver spare wheel.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

Come on Audi, be the first among your German prestige peers to move to a five-year warranty… or just stick with the three-year/unlimited kilometre coverage while the mainstream brands offer up to seven years.

Servicing is recommended annually or every 15,000km.

A three-year service plan is $1610, while a five-year plan costs $2590.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

The Q3 35 TFSI feels light with great steering and impressive handling while that engine has enough grunt to move things along quickly when overtaking, pulling out of car spaces or at the traffic lights.

This combined with a high seating position and good visibility makes the 35 TFSI fun and easy to drive.

It’s not perfect. though. The ride is firm (borderline jittery) on anything less than a smooth motorway, while the front seats are a tad hard and flat, but that could change over the duration of ownership with a bit of wearing in.

The Q3 35 TFSI feels light with great steering and impressive handling. The Q3 35 TFSI feels light with great steering and impressive handling.

Verdict

Impressively practical for the size, easy to drive, and packed with cool technology, the Q3 is one of the best Audis on the market, and one of the most affordable. The 35 TFSI Launch Edition offers even better value with a list of items I’d option included for not much more than the price of the standard car. Keep in mind, though, that special editions tend not to sell for more than regular versions at re-sale time.

Pricing Guides

$49,575
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$46,400
Highest Price
$52,750

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
35 TFSI S TRONIC 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO $46,400 2020 Audi Q3 2020 35 TFSI S TRONIC Pricing and Specs
35 TFSI S TRONIC LAUNCH EDIT. 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP DUAL-CLUTCH AUTO $52,750 2020 Audi Q3 2020 35 TFSI S TRONIC LAUNCH EDIT. Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.6
Price and features8
Design8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Practicality9
Safety9
Ownership6
Driving7
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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