Audi wasn’t kidding when it said 2018 would be one of the busiest years in its history. The company has unveiled the brand-new 2019 Q3 a week after it introduced the updated TT range and a few short weeks after it expanded its SUV lineup with the range-topping Q8.
In America, where we don’t get the pocket-sized Q2, the Q3 will continue to occupy the bottom spot in Audi’s crossover and SUV hierarchy. Designers gave the second-generation model a bolder, sharper look that borrows styling cues like a thin, wide grille with a chromed frame and vertical slats from the aforementioned Q8. Flared wheel arches and contoured taillights add a muscular touch to the design.
The Q3 follows Audi’s shift towards more high-tech interiors. It’s offered with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, called “virtual cockpit” in Audi-speak, that the driver can configure using buttons located on the multi-function steering wheel. The center console houses a more basic version of the excellent MMI Touch Response infotainment system found in bigger models, including the A6 and the A7. The graphics and key functions look the same, but the big difference is that the Q3 has one screen instead of two so it retains manual dials for the climate control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility both come standard, and internet-connected navigation with Google Earth integration is offered at an extra cost.
Audi notes it made the Q3 nearly four inches longer than its predecessor. The extra sheet metal won’t bump it into the next segment up but it’s enough to clear up more space for passengers, especially the ones sitting in the second row. Properly configured, the Q3 offers a reclining rear bench that slides by about six inches. Trunk space checks in at 23.8 cubic feet with five occupants on board and 53.9 cubes with the rear seats folded flat.
Audi hasn’t released powertrain specifications for the American-spec Q3. With that said, our version of the SUV will likely receive a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to provide 230 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It will spin all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. Expect a hotter SQ3 and, if we’re lucky, a high-performance RS Q3 to arrive later in the production run.
The 2019 Audi Q3 will reach showrooms across Europe before the end of the year. Dealers in the United States will begin receiving the model in 2019. And, believe it or not, the Q3 isn’t the last new car we’ll see from Audi this year. The brand is putting the final touches on the e-tron quattro, its first series-produced electric model, and will show it to the public before the end of the year.