A little bit of gloss to keep it feeling fresh

The Audi Q3 is the German brand’s tall-stance, compact-fitting crossover product, which has been around since 2011. Prior to the introduction of the Audi Q2 at the Geneva Motor Show back in March, the Q3 was Audi’s smallest SUV-style offering. These days, the Q3 is looking like it should be getting a second generation, but before it does, Audi has decided to keep the old five-door fresh by way of new aesthetic upgrades and a new special edition model. All the bits under the skin have been unaltered, but outside, you’ll find sportier trim, new wheels, and a few other bits and bobs added. On the new special edition, the cabin has been updated as well.

The new special edition is called the S line competition, which joins trim levels like the Design and Sport trim as the top-dog kit. Plenty of folks are holding out to see what the second-generation might bring, but for those who simply can’t wait, the updated Audi Q3 might offer just the right style to justify a purchase.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Audi Q3.

  • 2017 - 2018 Audi Q3
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    seven-speed dual-clutch
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    197
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • Price:
    32000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    7/10

Exterior

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3
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At first blush, the 2017 Audi Q3 looks pretty much exactly like the previous model. The body is perched high above large-diameter wheels, with the six-sided Singleframe grille presiding over a rounded nose. The headlights are identical, with C-shaped daytime running lights and a sharp-edged, squared-off shape, and the roofline falls into a rather bulbous tail at a gradual angle. The dimensions are also unchanged.

However, once you start looking closely, you’ll start to pick out a few new pieces here and there, particularly when talking about the new special edition variant.

It’s pretty obvious the changes were performed with minimal effort, maximum effect in mind, sort of like “modifying” your daily driver with a rattle can paint job because you can’t afford a real body kit.

To begin, the Design trim now sports front intakes with a horizontal split to them. The underbody protection below the front and rear bumpers is finished in a matte silver, and there is coloring on the bumpers and wheel arches in a contrasting stone gray hue.

The Sport trim line also gets a new front end, utilizing larger air intakes, plus a bisected central intake that uses a wing element finished in the same color as the body. The Singleframe grille receives the stone gray coloring.

Next is the S line, which employs a diamond-pattern insert from the front intake, plus new trim around the front bumper and a central bisecting blade. The grille comes in high-gloss black.

Finally, we have the S line competition special edition package, which uses the same look as the S line, with high-gloss black inserts for the front intakes, as well as the Singleframe grille.

Viewed from the side, we find a new design for the alloy wheels. The S line receives 19-inch rollers from Audi Sport, with a 10-spoke layout and glossy black finish. More black details can be found on the wheel arches, door trim, side-view mirror housings, and window slot trim.

In back, the taillights are exactly as they were before, but the rear bumper now houses dual exhaust tips finished in polished chrome, rather than the twin outlets that were placed on the driver’s side on the outgoing model. The spoiler hanging off the top of the hatch is now finished in black as well, while the lower diffuser element also gets a black finish.

Depending on the trim level, look for unique badging peppering the various body panels.

With regards to paint choices, the Q3 now offers a metallic Camouflage Green, which replaces the metallic Tundra Brown offered on the previous model.

Overall, the changes Audi incorporated with this refresh are pretty much par for the course. There’s nothing terribly unexpected here, and the darker details do a good job in adding a little more spice to overall design. Thing is, it’s pretty obvious the changes were performed with minimal effort, maximum effect in mind, sort of like “modifying” your daily driver with a rattle can paint job because you can’t afford a real body kit.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Interior

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Interior
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2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Interior
- image 688448
2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Interior
- image 688446

Inside, there are even fewer changes, with the S line competition receiving the majority of unique touches. The sport seats (which come equipped with power lumbar support) are covered in black leather and fabric upholstery, and there are S line logos embossed at shoulder height in front. For those who prefer something else as far as materials go, Audi is also offering a leather/Alcantara combo, or a high-end Nappa leather option.

Across the dash, you’ll find inlays with a piano black finish, and additional S line logos were added to the door trim.

Across the dash, you’ll find inlays with a piano black finish, and additional S line logos were added to the door trim. Various controls receive an aluminum look finish.

Speaking of control, customers will receive a flat-bottomed, multi-function, three-spoke steering wheel that’s covered in leather and complete with contrast stitching. You’ll also find it’s branded with yet another S line logo.

On models equipped with an automatic gearbox, there are stainless steel pedals for the throttle, brake, and dead pedal. Meanwhile, models with a manual gearbox get aluminum and leather for the shift knob.

I’ve always found Audi’s interiors to be a nice mix of high-quality fit and finish, simple design, and elegant features. The same holds true for the refreshed Q3 (unsurprising considering the minimal changes), but to be honest, I could do without the plethora of badging.

Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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It would have been nice if Audi did a little something with the engine tune with this refresh, but it’s not surprising the powerplants remain untouched.

As far as what makes the Q3 go, everything is as it was before. That means that for U.S. customers, the new Q3 is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s able to produce 197 horsepower. Routing the power is a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, with both AWD and FWD offered.

Elsewhere, you can get the Q3 with a 1.4-liter gas unit (148 horsepower), a few different 2.0-liter gas units (178 horsepower, 217 horsepower), and a 2.5-liter inline-five gas unit (335 horsepower) in the hotter RS model variant. There are also several diesels, including a trio of 2.0-liter units (118 horsepower, 148 horsepower, and 181 horsepower).

Both a six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic fill out the gearbox options.

It would have been nice if Audi did a little something with the engine tune with this refresh, but it’s not surprising the powerplants remain untouched.

Chassis And Handling

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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On the plus side, Audi did see fit to up the car’s handling a bit, at least with the Q3 S line competition. Equipped in the corners is the S line sport suspension package, which comes as standard equipment on the special edition model. The same goes for Audi’s drive select dynamic handling system.

As a reminder, the Q3 comes outfitted with a MacPherson strut set-up in front, and four-link set-up in back. An electromechanical steering system points the front wheels.

Prices

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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Audi says the new Q3 will launch in Germany and other European markets as soon as autumn of this year. Deliveries are scheduled to begin later in 2016.

Price wise, the sport and design trim levels will start at 30,100 euros, while the high-end Q3 S line competition will carry a price tag of 33,050 euros (at current exchange rates, 09/15/16, that equates to $33,847 and $37,165, respectively).

For the moment, Audi has declined to provide pricing and availability for U.S. buyers interested in the refreshed model. However, it should be noted that current pricing for the Q3 starts at $31,800 for the entry-level Premium, and rises to $39,200 for the range-topping Prestige.

2018 Audi Q3 Prices

Audi Q3 2.0T FWD S tronic Premium $32,900
Audi Q3 2.0T FWD S tronic Premium Plus $32,900
Audi Q3 2.0T quattro Tiptronic Premium $35,000
Audi Q3 2.0T quattro Tiptronic Premium Plus $37,900

Competition

BMW X1

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
- image 632464

This compact crossover from the Bavarians is quite the popular product, selling in droves the world over with each successive generation. Although it recently made the switch from RWD to FWD, this thing should still be pretty entertaining to drive. Under the hood, you’ll find 228 horsepower as provided by a four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0-liter.

Read the full review here.

Mercedes GLA

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 562371

This is definitely the head turner on this list of cars, offering impressive styling, lots of technology, and even a decent amount of thrust when you put your foot down. Once again, there’s a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder providing motivation, with the Mercedes laying down 208 horsepower through the front tires. Alternatively, you can with AWD for more traction.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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This refresh from Audi brings nothing unexpected. The bulk of the update is in the details, where we find slightly new styling elements peppered here and there to keep this thing feeling new.

Is it new, though? Not really.

The only thing that would make this thing enticing to buyers is the idea of capturing a special edition model before the second-generation comes to crash the party. Other than that, this thing is basically business as usual.

  • Leave it
    • * Nothing that new on the table
    • * Might be worth waiting for the second generation instead
    • * Uncertainty over U.S. availability and engine options

Press Release

Photo Credit: Audi

Audi makes its bestselling Q3* even more attractive. New details in the exterior design more sharply differentiate the design and sport trim lines as well as the S line exterior package. The Audi Q3 S line competition augments the lineup with a sporty new special edition. Start of sales is scheduled for fall 2016.

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 688430

The updated Audi Q3 differentiates more sharply than ever before between the trim lines and packages. In the sport trim line, the premium SUV gets a new front end. The outer air inlets are larger; the blade beneath the center inlet is finished in the body color and the Singleframe grille in stone gray.

The new S line exterior package sports a new, honed look. Diamond-pattern inserts fill the air inlets; a new strut spans the full width of the front skirt, dividing it into two segments. The dominant contrasting color in the radiator grille and air inlets is high-gloss black.

The design line gives the Audi Q3 a particularly upscale look. Its outer air inlets are split horizontally; the underbody protection is finished in a matt silver tone at the front and rear bumper. The contrasting region of the bumpers and the wheel arches are stone gray.

The sporty new special edition Audi Q3 S line competition takes to the road sharply dressed. Its front end draws on the look of the new S line exterior package with high-gloss black paint for the air inlets and the Singleframe grille.

The color black carries over to the flanks with the wheel arches, door trim strips, roof rails, exterior mirror housings and the window slot trim. At the rear, the roof edge spoiler and the lower section of the bumper are finished in glossy black. S line badges adorn the fenders.

The Audi Q3 S line competition also flaunts its dynamic character in the interior. The sport seats with power lumber supports are covered in a mix of black leather and fabric with the S line logo embossed in the center sections. A leather-Alcantara combination and Fine Nappa leather are optionally available.

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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The inlays in the new sport model glisten in black piano finish; the door sill trims bear S line logos. In combination with the S tronic, the pedals and foot rest are made of stainless steel. Models with a manual gearbox feature an aluminum-and-leather gear lever knob. The

flat-bottomed, multifunction sport leather steering wheel in 3-spoke design bears an S line logo and contrasting stitching. Many controls are finished in aluminum look.

The S line sport suspension, Audi drive select dynamic handing system and the driver information system are standard in the Audi Q3 S line competition, as are new 19-inch wheels in a gloss-black 10-Y-spoke design from Audi Sport. The Q3 S line competition is available with any engine in the Q3 lineup.

Camouflage Green, metallic replaces Tundra Brown, metallic in the color range for the updated Audi Q3.

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 688432

The updated Audi Q3 models will launch in Germany and additional European markets this fall. Deliveries will start late this year. Prices for the trim lines sport and design remain stable, beginning at 30,100 euros. The Audi Q3 S line competition lists for 33,050 euros.

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