THREE SECOND RULE (some text hidden)
By Andy Enright
Introductionword count: 113
The Audi Q3 at first looked to be a case of stretching a theme too far. The monster Q7 SUV has spawned the mid-sized Q5, but many thought that this was as small as Audi sports-utes would get. Wrong. The Q3 is a dinky little compact Crossover that offers the perceived advantages of a slightly higher-riding vehicle at a more modest price point (for an Audi). Although some may question the advantages of this car over the A3 premium family hatch on which it's based, the market took to the Q3 fairly readily and Audi fleshed the range out with further models. Here's what to look for when shopping for a used version.
Modelsword count: 11
5dr compact SUV (2.0 petrol, 2.0 diesel [SE, S line, RS])
Historyword count: 356
Audi is a company with a talent for making motoring journalists feel a little silly. Few gave the behemoth Q7 much of a chance when it was launched and many wrote the Q5 off as too expensive and not spacious enough. In the event, both models outstripped even Audi's most optimistic sales projections. Cue the Q3. It launched into the UK market in mid-2011, a time when Land Rover pulled a real flanker with its astonishingly successful Range Rover Evoque. Compared to the British car, the Q3 appeared deeply conservative. Sales subsequently showed that the taste was for bold designs and the Evoque wiped the floor with any rival you could care to mention. If though, you view the sales statistics that lie beyond those of the junior Range Rover in the premium-badged compact Crossover segment, you'll find that early versions of this Q3 actually acquitted themselves pretty well. The Q3 was launched with a choice of three turbocharged engines. The petrol units comprised a 168bhp 2.0-litre petrol, available in front or four-wheel drive guises, and a 208bhp 2.0-litre that was only offered in quattro all-wheel drive form. Choose diesel and you got a 175bhp version of Audi's 2.0-litre common-rail engine, with four-wheel drive only. At the start of February 2012, the Q3 achieved a Euro NCAP five star safety award.A 138bhp version of the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine mated to a quattro all-wheel drive chassis appeared in July 2012. The Geneva Show of spring 2012 saw the debut of a punchier Q3, the 306bhp RS model. At the start of 2014, Audi introduced a budget 148PS 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine to the Q3 range, with front-wheel drive and either manual or S tronic transmissions. At the other end of the line-up, it introduced the ritzy S line Plus trim level. These were the final set of changes before Audi announced a facelifted car for the 2015 model year. The 1.4-litre petrol engine got Cylinder On Demand technology to make it even more efficient and the RS Q3's peak power was lifted from 306 to 335bhp in order to combat the rival Mercedes GLA 45 AMG.
What You Getword count: 198
While Audi could be accused of a certain lack of imagination when it comes to the Q3's styling, it's a look and feel that customers are accustomed to, which they clearly like and which may well date better than more extrovert rivals. In size, the 439cm long Q3 is 24cm shorter than the next SUV up in Audi's product range, the Q5, although the Russian doll styling may confuse some as to which model it is. Many customers still have difficulty differentiating an Audi A5 Sportback and an A7 unless they're parked next to each other and it's the same story with the Q3. Based on the same running gear as it's VW Group cousin the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Q3 isn't too much different in terms of interior space. The boldly swooping roofline of the Cross Coupe concept that first inspired the Q3 was ditched for inal production models in favour of a more conventional silhouette. The result is seating for three adults (just) in the back, with a 460-litre luggage capacity. Like the Q5, the rear seats don't tumble flat to the floor when folded, but you'll still get up to 1365-litres should you fold them forwards.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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