Audi has spruced up its Q3 range for the 2015 model year. Thanks to a few styling and mechanical tweaks, its baby SUV should remain competitive with the likes of the Mercedes GLA, Porsche Macan and Range Rover Evoque.
The 2015 Q3 has received a minor facelift, most noticeably at the front. A wider grille extends outwards towards the headlights, and a revised bumper with larger air vents adds a little more aggression.
The entry-level SE model now comes with xenon headlights as standard, and the plusher S-line and S-line Plus versions are now equipped with full LED headlights. A couple of new alloy wheel designs ranging from 17 to 19 inches make their debut, and although there are changes at the rear, if you don’t believe us then we won’t blame you – they really are that subtle.
In fact, you’d be hard pushed to notice any difference until the indicators are switched on. Higher spec S-line and Plus models receive scrolling units which sequentially move in the direction you wish to turn. Inside, the spot-the-difference tweaks continue. The most notable difference comes in the form of a new steering wheel design.
What about the power?
Every engine in the Q3 range has been given a tune-up to improve both performance and efficiency. The entry level 1.4-litre TFSI petrol has seen gains of 10hp as well as 13-per-cent fuel economy improvements – the latter thanks largely to cylinder-on-demand tech, which shuts off part of the engine when cruising.
Already doing service in the A1 and A3, here it produces 148hp. This front-wheel-drive-only model can hit 60 in 8.9 seconds, and when equipped with a manual gearbox it’ll return a claimed 50.4mpg. Power in the 2.0-litre turbo petrol has bumped up to 178hp, and this model is only available with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system.
The diesel engines receive similar tweaks. The 2.0-litre TDI still comes in two states of tune, now producing 148hp and 181hp – up from the previous 140 and 177. Audi reckons that the smaller of those units will now manage 61.4mpg when equipped with front-wheel drive.
But what if they’re not exciting enough for me?
At the top of the range sits the slightly barmy RS Q3. A tweak to the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo motor sees power output rise to 335hp, and torque at a very specific 331.9lb/ft. The 0-60mph sprint takes just 4.8 seconds, yet claimed fuel economy has improved to 32.8mpg. As before, top speed is limited to 155mph – a shame…
The RS Q3′s transmission is an improved version of the seven-speed dual-clutch auto, which shifts smoother and faster than before. Huge new brake discs at the front – housed inside 20-inch alloy wheels – save 1kg each.
Setting apart the RS model from the rest of the Q3 range is an outlandish front air dam complete with Quattro branding, and at the rear there is an updated bumper design with a large single exhaust pipe. Inside, special sports seats with red stitching are complimented by red-on-grey RS dials. There’s even a lap timer, for those crazy enough to take an SUV to their local circuit.
Equipment levels remain largely unchanged, but the introduction of adaptive dampers as a standard fit item across the range will allow drivers to tweak ride comfort to their own tastes.
When can I have one?
Deliveries are expected in spring 2015 for both Q3 and RS Q3 models. Prices start at £25,340 for the regular car, while RS prices are yet to be confirmed.