New & Used Audi Q3: In Depth
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New to this market for the 2015 model year, the Audi Q3 is a compact luxury crossover destined to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, BMW X1, and Buick Encore.
The Q3 resembles nothing so much as a scaled-down Q5, one of Audi's most popular vehicles. The wraparound tailgate caps a stubby tall-wagon shape that's much smaller than the Q5, more city-sized than family-sized--unless the family is a small one. With LED headlamps and an interior like the one on the new A3, the Q3 is handsome in a way some of its competitors aren't.
MORE: See our 2015 Audi Q3 preview
At launch, the U.S. market will get just one powertrain with the Q3. It's a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with turbocharging and direct injection, rated at 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission only, but the front-drive Q3 will have an option for Audi's hallmark all-wheel drive. Audi sells a high-performance RS Q3 elsewhere, powered by a 310-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter in-line five-cylinder engine, although it's not clear whether it will make it to the U.S.
Audi’s drive select system will be an option. It allows the driver adjust the handling and throttle response at the touch of the button. The Q3 will ride on 18-inch wheels and tires, though 19-inchers will be offered.
The Q3 is a five-passenger vehicle, but its small size likely means a tight fit for three in the rear seat. Q3s equipped with the optional Sport package will include seats with additional bolstering and thigh cushion extensions. With the rear seats in place, there is 16.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the seats down, and it expands to 48.2 cubic feet.
Among its many safety features, the Q3 will offer rear side airbags as an option. A Driver Assistance package will include parking sensors and a rearview camera, as well as blind-spot monitors. The Q3 hasn't yet been rated by either of the nationally recognized safety agencies.
Standard features include speed-dependent electric power steering, electronic stability control with offroad and hill descent settings, 18-inch wheels (19-inch wheels are offered), a sunroof, xenon headlights, LED interior lighting, 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, and leather trim.
There’s a long list of options too. Some highlights are Audi’s MMI navigation plus system with a 7.0-inch display, Audi connect WiFi, a power tailgate, and a Bose sound system with 14 speakers. Audi Connect adds in-car data services (now powered by AT&T as a Mobile Share device on your plan), Google Earth mapping, and Google Local Search by voice.
Sales of the 2015 Audi Q3 start in the fall of 2014, with prices expected to start at about $30,000.