2019 Audi Q3 S line Quattro: Height Done Right

Discussion in 'In the News' started by cliff leppke, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. cliff leppke

    cliff leppke Cliff Leppke

    [​IMG] Audi's compact SUV borrows VW's good stuff.

    Cliff Leppke – CleanMPG – December 4, 2019

    2019 Audi Q3 S-Line


    We all adjust our undergarments. You can discretely un-bunch your junk or just grab and adjust. Carmakers do the same thing; they routinely construct key models utilizing architectures or toolkits. Some premium brands go Hanes rather than Saxx Kintec.

    Audi’s new Q3 compact crossover rides atop VW’s MQB platform, the VW Golf’s transverse-engine, front-drive chassis. Look carefully at the Q3’s Hungarian-made machine’s wheelbase and you’ll see its identical to the European MQB-based short-wheelbase VW Tiguan. So we know whose underwear is under there. Unlike the Lexus UX 200, which cannot hide its Toyota Corolla underpinnings, the Q3 elevates the art of automotive tailoring.


    Examine the S Line’s pumpkin-spice orange Alcantara suede-like interior embellishments—the stuff wraps from the rear doors through the dashboard. It adds whimsy to the techo-Teutonic interior environ. Ingolstadt, therefore, did much more than rebadge a VW.

    Audi’s Q3 attractions are more than skin deep. It’s motivated by an all-wheel-drive go train with four-cylinder 228-hp turbo engine (ripped from the GTI), and an eight-speed automatic transmission with Drive Select. The latter lets you adjust shock damping and steering effort. In dynamic, the steering is quick with good road sense and feedback. Seventh and eight cogs keep engine rpm low about 1500 at 60mph and 1850 at 70 mph.


    Audi offers several onboard nannies. One asks you to stop straddling the centerline. The pre-collision system pulls the brake pedal and sounds an alert, when vehicles in front of you suddenly slow. Insects, smashed on the Q3’s front sensors, caused the forward warning system to shut down.

    The automatic eight-speed transmission can shuffle cogs like a card shark. When moving slowly through parking lots, the Q3’s engine/tranny croupier is flummoxed. A satisfactory engine note greets your right foot. A sport shift program ups the fun. Paddle shifters let you orchestrate motion.

    I netted 25 mpg overall with 28 on one highway trip. The twin-cam, direct-injection engine with start/stop to reduce idling emissions, drinks regular grade. The EPA numbers are 19 mpg city, 27 highway and 22 combined.


    The Q3 wears sensible clothes. It’s a two-box crossover with slightly raked rear liftgate. The grille is wide, though--a German-design epidemic. Have you seen the toothy BMWs? The S Line has effective LED headlights and fog lamps. Squinty LED taillamps and bright metal accents surround windows.

    Inside, four adults savor Audi’s exquisitely trimmed cabin. The 12-way power leather-trimmed front highchairs are supportive. Interior door release levers are sized and shaped for easy manipulation. The backseat slides and reclines. It’s contoured for comfortable seating yet folds flat to extent stowage. The middle perch is for kids only. Both front and rear riders get 12-volt outlets and USB ports. Those in back get face vents, too. Kick your foot under the rear bumper and the liftgate opens. The cargo floor is height adjustable. You can insert a road bike with both wheels attached. But one must remove the rear seatbacks’ headrests first.


    Survey the dashboard. You’ll notice Audi banished its familiar switches and replaced them with a wide glossy black surface. Instead of the usual rotary headlight control, you get pushbuttons. Adjusting instrument panel brightness is awkward. You use the 8.8-inch touchscreen’s menu. This screen’s icons are easy to learn. Tuning the radio, however, is a chore.

    Audi retains bits of its old-school interface. There’s a volume knob near the start button. Steering wheel thumbwheels are perfectly placed. They duplicate some touchscreen functions. Press the speak button and you can enter an address, make a call or tune the radio. And the touchscreen is a scratchpad. Write on it; predictive software deciphers what you’ve scribbled. It pulled up the Google map, which helped me find a destination in a cookie cutter office park.


    The Q3 starts at $36,995. Add 20-inch wheels, Bang & Olufsen sound system, navigation package, premium plus package with lane departure warning, park sense warning, phone charging box and a sport pack with three-spoke multifunction steering wheel and the tab grows: $44,990. They say good things come in small packages. This is as stubby as an Audi crossover gets. Built on a solid foundation, it’s an example of height done right.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Cliff:

    If only this were heavily atkinsonized and paired with a full hybrid drivetrain. ;)

    BillLin likes this.
  3. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Right, they should offer an hybrid or even better TFSI-e. Just got a Q5 rental and I think it's capable of 30+ mpg highway probably beating the Q3. Will have more time to test tomorrow on a longer drive. But note Q3 doesn't require premium gas anymore and probably part of reason there was a drop in mpg.

    Not a fan of the thick display sticking out fairly close in front of you on the Q5 (similar to new Altima). There's no way to fold/collapse the display. The Q3 design is a bit more to my taste.
    I did notice a lot of hard plastics on the Q5. Not something I would expect at this price point.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  4. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Got 31 mpg with Q5 in WA state for 200 mile trip with 3 mountain passes so pretty good. In city driving like most SUV's mpg drops really fast.
    Looking at Consumer reports they got slightly lower mpg for Q3: 15/33/23 versus Q5 17/34/24. Fuel cost is still lower since it doesn't require premium.
    Also noticed Q3 has a smaller tank so range isn't great (Q5 showed 500 mpg so probably 440 for Q3).

    Some things I noticed with Q5 and I wonder same as Q3:

    - The center screen seems not capable to show any trip information
    - There's no headlight off/on indicator on the dashboard. I could only tell when map switched to dark/light colors
    - Fuel tank only shows in 1/8 segments and halfway looks more like a quarter left
    - Writing S showed almost always as 5 which was annoying. Speech recognition didn't really work great for me either. At least it supports AA
    - Steering wheel felt not great for an Audi. Cheap hard plastics
    - Dashboard display visibility is really great
    - Good softer suspension but not much lean, fast acceleration and decent steering feeling
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  5. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    ( adjusting his undergarments as he types ) I would never buy this thing , but nice article , Cliff.
    xcel and BillLin like this.

Share This Page