Audi wasn’t originally going to bring this car Stateside due to the feeling that it was too small for Americans. They had second thoughts when the Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1 came on the market and decided they didn’t want to be late to the small luxury crossover party. The Q3 has already been on sale in Europe for four years, and its platform and powertrain are shared with the Volkswagen Tiguan. It does not, however, use the the newest MQB architecture that underpins the latest Audi A3—that will have to wait for the second-generation Q3. Despite that Audi has shifted 3,000+ of these and based on our drive should sell quite a few more.

Engine and Performance

We did mourn the loss of the A3 hatchback when it was replaced by the A3 Sedan, which we drove recently. So when Audi delivered us a 2015 Audi Q3 2.0T Quattro in Midnight Blue, we nodded in agreement, because it reminded us of that little A3 hatch. Yes it is a little fatter and taller but it is a hatchback and a very attractive one.

For this model you can choose front wheel or Quattro all wheel drive, in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Ours came in Prestige trim which adds everything….we’ll go into details later. The engine is the 2.0T mill you got in the last generation A3 and Golf GTi, which gives 200 hp @ 5,100-6,000 rpm and 207 lb-ft @ 1,700 respectively.
Note to Audi please replace with the 2.0 from the current A3 with 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
As it is the Q3 reach 60 from a standstill in 7.9 seconds and through the 1/4 mile in 16.2 secs@ 88mph. We expect the front driver to be marginally quicker since it weighs less. The Quattro tips the scales at 3686 lb.

Our Route
















Our route to  Palm Springs was mostly Freeways until you hit the Moreno Valley Freeway, which is a 4 lane highway that takes you up over the mountains from Riverside, CA to Beaumont, CA.  This highway is very technical with many sharp turns and a pretty steep grade.  It’s a good test for any car and we loved the way the little Audi scythed through the bends with aplomb. The steering is accurate and despite the combination of a short wheelbase, a tall profile, and a relatively plush ride, handling is down right tenacious. This car has a nimbleness and zip that we haven’t seen in any other crossovers. Even excess speed into a corner wouldn’t make it under steer and it felt sure footed at any speed, especially when we got into the extremely windy section close to Palm Springs.

Freeway cruising is very relaxed and so quiet that several passengers fell asleep on the way back. Could have been the heavy lunch but , we can’t fault the very comfortable Audi chairs front and rear. The engine provides smooth delivery and except for launches off the line, power delivery is faultless.

The Q3 works off road too, although not so well with 19 inch wheels wearing low profile rubber. With an approach angle of 17 degrees and a 12.2 degree departure angle, the Audi Q3 is no Range Rover, but it copes admirably over rough terrain with a ground clearance of 7.2 inches and a wading depth of 19 inches. We took it on some fairly easy truck trails and tested the Hill Descent Control, which automatically maintains a speed between 6 mph and 12 mph on steep descents.

On our round trip of 265 miles we averaged 23.2 mpg, which did include some very heavy right foot moments. Expect 25 – 26 for your average driver.


The base price of our four-wheel-drive test example is $34,600, which is a lot for such a small car, but the interior appointments, design, and feel are all very good. Our Prestige version came with a version of Audi’s MMI, a Power Tailgate, BOSE Surround Sound, Audi Side Assist, Parking Sensors and 19 inch wheels ($800). This raised the overall price to $40,775, which is inline with what you can get in the GLA and XI.


The Q3 might not the quickest baby-ute on the block, but it rides unbelievably well and is quieter than a church mouse at cruising speeds. We would pick this over the hard riding BMW X1 and if only it had the more powerful turbo 4 , it would be the perfect substitute for the now gone A3 hatch.


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2015 Audi Q3 2.0T Quattro
BASE PRICE $34,600
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
ENGINE Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4
POWER 200 hp @ 6000 rpm
TORQUE 207 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
CURB WEIGHT  3686 lb
0-60 MPH 7.9 seconds
QUARTER MILE 16.2 secs@ 88mph