Audi Q3 SUV - Interior & comfort
The latest Audi Q3 is beautifully designed inside, with a generous equipment list
Not only does the Audi Q3 prove generally smooth over road imperfections, but it's impressively quiet, too. It excels as a motorway cruiser, and its well designed interior makes it no hardship at all to spend long periods on the road. In looks, feel and technology, it's a big step forward from the previous model.
Audi Q3 dashboard
Following the lead of the Volkswagen T-Roc, there are no old-fashioned analogue instruments to be seen in the Q3. Instead, Audi's 10.25-inch 'virtual cockpit' instrument cluster is standard, with settings that allow you to choose the way information is presented. Where sat nav is fitted, the centre section of the display can show full 3D mapping.
However, the larger 12.3-inch upgraded version is more impressive and, in combination with the top MMI Navigation Plus infotainment system, brings full-colour Google Maps navigation to the instrument cluster. It's spectacular to look at, however, there's an argument that all the high-resolution imagery could distract your eyes from the road.
The central touchscreen display is actually a little smaller than the one in the instrument panel, measuring in at 10.1 inches with MMI Navigation. Both look terrific, concealed by a glossy panel when out of use and only appearing when illuminated. The latest MMI system does mark Audi's departure from physical controls, though – not everybody will appreciate the touchscreen-only interface.
The way that fingerprints rapidly build up on that high-gloss panel rather detract from the overall effect, too, but the cockpit is certainly attractive to look at. The main body of the dashboard is designed to reflect the Q3's octagonal 'single-frame' grille, with air vents and ventilation controls mounted above and below. The materials used are all first-class, and there's the option of trimming sections of the dashboard in Alcantara suede to add a bit more tactile appeal. Multi-coloured ambience lighting is also on hand to create a mood after dark.
Audi's trim levels are a little less regimented than some rivals – Q3 owners can choose from one of four trim levels, with each adding to the interior specifications and exterior styling. Standard equipment is generous irrespective of the version you choose, with all versions fitted with climate control, a ‘Virtual Cockpit’ digital instrument cluster, and a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen featuring sat nav, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. LED headlights and Audi’s ‘Pre-sense’ front collision detection are also standard.
The entry-level Sport model comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, silver contrasting bodywork trim, and body-coloured bumpers and wheel arch trim. The interior gets front sports seats and cloth-trim as standard. The S Line trim adds 19-inch alloy wheels, half-leather upholstery, rear privacy glass and ambient lighting to the interior.
The Edition 1 trim level adds 20-inch alloy wheels and Matrix LED headlights with dynamic front and rear LED indicators. The bodywork features a contrasting grey paint finish on the lower front and rear bumpers, with matching side sills and wheel arch trims. It also gets black contrasting trim on the wing mirrors, the front grille and window surrounds, front air intakes and the lower section of the rear bumper.
Flagship Vorsprung cars get a panoramic sunroof, Alcantara and leather-trimmed upholstery and a premium 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D stereo system. Audi’s Driver Assistance Pack is also fitted, and includes park assist, cross-traffic assist and a 360-degree camera.
Consulting the options list is an essential stage of ordering an Audi, and it's rare to see a Q3 without at least some boxes ticked on the order form. Among the most tempting choices are the MMI Navigation Plus system with Google Earth mapping, along with the 12.3-inch virtual cockpit upgrade.
LED matrix headlamps are available; these can alter the main beam's shape to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic. You can also go for semi-autonomous adaptive cruise assistance on automatic-gearbox cars. Be wary, though, that the options list can soon get the upper hand and the price you end up paying for the car can eclipse the figure you had in mind prior to visiting the showroom.