We went to the most German area of Italy to get acquainted with the new second-generation Audi Q3 crossover. Now he has the outward appearance of the “little Q8”, a modern MQB platform and a memorable interior. Is the new crossover enough incendiary and spacious inside?
The first-generation Q3 crossover with a colorless design and cramped interior could not charm Russian buyers: in recent years, it has been inferior in terms of sales to compact BMW and Mercedes models.
In addition, the Q3 remained the oldest Audi model: its production began back in 2011. And this is at a time when exactly SUVs bring the main income to car makers! Since then, Tiguan, a fellow of the Volkswagen concern, managed to move to a new modular platform MQB; there were similar crossovers at Skoda and Seat – and only the “four rings” in the unusual role of the Cinderella remained with the old model.
But now the Audi Q3 caught up with the Tiguan. Actually, technically this is it – only instead of the exterior in the spirit of an faceted sleeper, there is a design here! Octagonal grille, frowning two-story headlights, embossed sides … Q8, aren’t you?
Work on the Q2 went in parallel with the flagship crossover Q8. Appearance author Matthias Fink told me that his sketches were selected from half a dozen projects created by Audi designers. The artist listed a lot of unobvious tricks that allowed to give the appearance of Q3 dynamics. The windshield is set more vertically than before, which, coupled with the sloping rear struts, gives a characteristic “drawn-out” silhouette. And the undulating underpieces above the wheels create the illusion of the relief sides: “It seems that the wings protrude by five to ten centimeters. But in fact, the sidewalls are almost flat. This optical illusion made it possible not to tilt the side posts strongly, thereby increasing the space in the shoulders. ”
And Q3 after the appearance of the Q2 model is not the youngest in the Audi crossover line – and it has noticeably grown in size: the length increased immediately by ten centimeters, with 77 millimeters on the wheelbase. Because of this, you can get a decent rear even for tall riders.
After the Audi A6 sedan, the new generation behind the wheel of the Q3 is all familiar: the front panel is as if intercepted by a sash with a black lacquered touch panel in the center. Unless there is no second touchscreen below: in its place is a traditional climate control panel with small snatchy twists, and the automatic selector is traditional – in the form of a conventional lever with a straight groove.
Regardless of the level of equipment in front of the driver, the new Q3 will have a virtual instrument panel and an advanced multimedia MMI system with a touch screen. The difference in the size of the monitors: the basic machines will have a simpler system with a 10-inch shield and the main screen with a diagonal of 8.8 inches, on the trim levels will be more expensive 12-inch shield and 10-inch screen.
The functionality is also slightly different: for example, in a more advanced MMI Plus system, there is access to the Internet and speech recognition. True, the team in Russian, she understands not very much, and the promised opportunity to interrupt it, I did not notice. You can ask the system for the weather, but she understands the more complex commands through time. In addition, the system is rather tongue-tied – it speaks with a noticeable “computer” accent. But otherwise, she made a very pleasant impression – with graphics, speed of reaction and logic of the interface.
In Italy, we drove cars for the European market. There, buyers have a choice of three engines: a new 1.5 TFSI gasoline engine with a cylinder shut-off system and a pair of two-liter units – diesel and gasoline. The 150-liter 1.5-liter engine is combined only with front-wheel drive, two-liter engines are installed on all-wheel drive: they are delivered in two levels of boost – 150 or 190 hp for a diesel engine and 190 or 230 hp for a gasoline engine. Only the weakest version and both of the most powerful were brought to the test. However, we have a set of motors will still be different, so make an amendment.
The first machine in the simplest configuration, behind the wheel of which I sat down, was pleased with the exemplary noise insulation. A half-liter motor was quite enough in the city, but on the road and in the mountains he worked with strain. Its great capabilities can be understood and forgiven, but the motor reacts with a delay to the pressure of the gas pedal – they say that these are the peculiarities of setting under strict standards of Euro 6 phase 2.
On the autobahn one feels that the car is head and shoulders beyond the capabilities of this modest little motor: the chassis is wonderful! Heavy suspension, small rolls, informative steering wheel … His charms fade a little on bad asphalt. We are in Italy: even on the autobahn there are rusty bump stops, and on local roads there are cracks, roughness, and inaccurate joints. They are noticeable that the car shudders, even on small irregularities – the benefit to the wheel hits do not come.
Moreover, the crossovers in the S-Line configuration on a sports suspension with 20-inch wheels behave in a similar way, that the base cars with a conventional chassis and 18-inch tires of the 55th profile are just a little sports suspension. There is also another version of the chassis with variable hardness of shock absorbers – their characteristics can be selected by the “Dynamic drive” switch on the center console. But I didn’t feel the difference in principle – and I don’t see much sense in this option. Like most buyers: engineer Christophe Blauensteiner, responsible for the chassis, admitted to me that on machines of this class, only 5-6% of customers choose an adjustable suspension. An important clarification: regardless of the choice of suspension – simple, sporty or adjustable – the clearance will be an impressive 190 millimeters.
But I strongly recommend the option “Progressive steering”. Thanks to the steering rack with variable pitch, the steering wheel makes only two turns from the stop to the stop – while it does not tire out the excessive sensitivity on the straight line. With such a mechanism, the steering wheel truncated from below does not interfere – it almost doesn’t have to be intercepted (except in the parking lot).
Claims to the dynamics of the Audi Q3 c top 230-horsepower turbo engine was not expected. And most of all pleased with the 180-hp diesel. I am accustomed to the abundance of traction under the pedal – from one and a half thousand turnovers, when the turbine swells, the engine pulls like a diesel locomotive. But a pleasant surprise was how easily and without delays the car follows the pedal – there is not a bit of diesel malleability in its nature. As if under the hood of a gasoline engine! And it “turns” not at all in diesel. And the main complaint is not a premium noise level: the characteristic rumble from under the hood is always audible. By the way, the diesel sedan A6 left a similar impression in the spring.
The diesel will develop 150 hp – such cars will be in Europe, but they were not brought to our test. A gasoline turbo receive 180 hp. For convenience, Audi has divided the whole world into several regions: Western Europe, North America and ROW – “Rest of the world”, “the rest of the world”. So, we belong to the “rest of the world”. Such machines are set up to work on lower-quality fuel and less stringent environmental requirements: for example, gasoline engines are not equipped with a diesel particulate filter.
The more you ride on new cars, the more you notice that service electronics are becoming almost more important than the actual “mechanics”. And on the new Q3 it is quite a lot: there are restraint systems in the lane and auto braking, and a rear view radar that does not allow to leave the parking lot if the car is approaching from the rear, and adaptive cruise control with a radar in the grille. Cruise works great: on the highway, he gently upsets the car in front of trucks and accelerates it again when you change lanes. But the setting of the retention system in the strip is rather rough: it turns aside when the car has almost crossed the marking line. On the other hand, there is a logic in this – the system only insures the driver against carelessness, and does not replace him as an autopilot.
Find out how the new Q3 will behave on our roads, it will not be soon. This is in Europe, sales of cars in a rich starting performance “Edition one” will begin in November, at a price of 33,500 euros. And we will have to wait for the next spring. Then we will see if Audi Q3 will succeed in squeezing other compact premium crossovers, like its younger brother Tiguan has succeeded in its class.
However, in the premium rules of the game are different. By itself, the class of compact crossovers is pretty niche. Much stronger we like big and expensive all-wheel drive like the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE!