In-depth reviews

Audi Q3 SUV - Engines, drive & performance

Enthusiastic drivers won't be grinning but the Audi Q3 is fast, safe and comfortable

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

2.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews

The Audi Q3 is a mature, grown-up-looking SUV inside and out, and the same is true of the driving experience it offers. Those trading up from a Nissan Qashqai or Renault Kadjar will welcome its sense of sophistication, but drivers upgrading from a Ford Kuga and Peugeot 3008 may well wish that the Q3 was a little more fun from behind the wheel.

Indeed, the Audi can't match its BMW X1 rival where excitement and responsiveness are concerned, but the general feeling is one of competence, safety and comfort, with more than enough grip to attack challenging roads determinedly should the mood take you. The Q3's wide tyres hold onto the road keenly and bite strongly when you turn into a bend, and there's little of the body lean that can plague some SUVs. Yet the latest Q3 doesn't punish passengers with an uncomfortable ride when the driver is having fun.

Audi must have keenly felt criticisms of the previous model's unyielding ride, because the latest Q3 is a car transformed. Even the S line trim level, with its large alloy wheels, low-profile tyres and stiffer sports suspension, remains smooth on motorways and – while urban potholes will occasionally send a shudder through the car – low-speed driving is generally very comfortable. Choose the optional adaptive dampers for added smoothness in 'normal' mode and a more focused feel when driving more enthusiastically.

Perhaps the biggest fly in the Q3's ointment is the way it changes gears. We find the six-speed manual a little clunky, which can frustrate efforts to make quick gearchanges. Meanwhile, the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic can occasionally pause before obeying the instruction to change gear.

Audi Q3 diesel engines

Only one diesel engine is offered in the Audi Q3, but the 2.0-litre is available in a choice of two power outputs. The 148bhp version is available with a manual or automatic gearbox, while the 187bhp version is automatic-only.

Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 9.4 seconds in the entry-level diesel model with front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox, shrinking to 7.3 seconds for the 197bhp model with quattro four-wheel drive and the automatic S tronic gearbox.

Petrol engines

Audi's latest engine nomenclature takes some understanding. The 35 TFSI, a 148bhp 1.5-litre turbo, sits at the bottom of the range, with front-wheel-drive and the six-speed manual gearbox. Audi claims it manages 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds. The seven-speed S Tronic gearbox shaves a tenth of a second off this.

The 40 TFSI and 45 TFSI are 187 and 242bhp versions of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. They cover 0-62mph in 7.3 and 5.8 seconds respectively and both have quattro four-wheel drive and the S tronic automatic gearbox as standard. While the latter is markedly faster when pushed to its limits, the 187bhp version has more than enough power to satisfy most drivers.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    35 TFSI Sport 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £31,905

Most Economical

  • Name
    35 TDI Sport 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £33,505

Fastest

  • Name
    40 TDI 200 Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £37,095

Most Popular

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Best new car deals 2021
Skoda Fabia
Deals
16 Apr 2021

Best new car deals 2021

What are Audi TFSI petrol engines?
Yellow Audi Q2
Audi
16 Apr 2021

What are Audi TFSI petrol engines?

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
13 Apr 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Tips and advice
10 Nov 2020

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?
Tips and Advice
23 Mar 2020

PCP vs HP – what's the difference?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
24 Feb 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Best car interiors
Best cars
10 Mar 2020

Best car interiors

Best electric cars
Best cars
24 Dec 2020

Best electric cars

Best cheap-to-run cars
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
1 Feb 2021

Best cheap-to-run cars

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Hot hatches
9 Apr 2020

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks