Photo by Mike Antich.
I first saw the 2015 Audi Q3 on display at the annual conference of the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) in Phoenix this past September. Needless to say, we were thrilled when Audi offered Automotive Fleet an opportunity to test drive the Q3.
Although new to the U.S., the Audi Q3 has been around a little while, having had its world premiere at Auto Shanghai 2011, which was the first official public showing. A year later, the Audi Q3 debuted at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Audi Q3 went on sale in the U.S. in the fall of 2014 as a 2015 model; however, it has been on sale in Europe for the past several years.
The 2015 Q3 is a compact SUV, based on a sedan platform. It is powered by a direct-injected 200 hp, 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces up to 207 lb.-ft. of torque. The drivetrain includes a 6-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. The Audi Q3 design features lightweighting strategies, such as an aluminum hood and lift gate to reduce curb weight and improve overall fuel economy.
The Q3 is available both with front-wheel drive and Quattro all-wheel drive. Our test vehicle was the Quattro version. The Q3’s front strut and multilink rear suspension setups deliver relatively agile handling, and the car is fitted with a stability-control system.
Photo by Mike Antich.
The Q3 has two rows and seating for up to five passengers. The 12-way power front seats make long distance driving comfortable and ergonomic, conforming to all driver physiques. The Q3 has standard leather upholstery with heated front seats.
The Q3 has 16.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, with a maximum 48.2 cubic feet with the 60/40-split folding backseat down.
There is an array of premium features that come standard with the Audi Q3. It is equipped with heated power seats; xenon HID headlights; LED turn signals, running lights, and tail lamps; and LED interior lighting. Audi’s three-mode Drive Select offers selectable Comfort, Dynamic, and Auto drive modes.
The 2015 Audi Q3 is a compact SUV positioned below the Audi Q5 SUV. The Q3 is 10 inches shorter than the Q5, 2.6 inches narrower, and its height is down 2.6 inches.
The Q3 comes in two trim levels, the base Premium Plus and the higher-optioned Prestige Package. Standard safety features include hill descent assist and an electronic stability system with an off-road mode. Blind spot warning and a backup camera are part of the Driver Assistance Package on base Premium Plus models and included standard on the more expensive Prestige trim.