WORLD PREMIERE: 2019 Audi Q3 — Finally Worth It

Audi Q3

Yesterday, the Audi Q3 was leaked ahead of its official reveal. Those impatient fans who wanted to see it early were given just a glimpse. But today, it’s been officially unveiled and you can seethe new Q3 in its entirety.

This new 2019 Audi Q3, only the second generation of the model line, is drastically improved over the car it replaces. Not only is it better looking but it’s far roomier, more practical and more comfortable on the inside. According to Audi, it’s more self-confident. Whatever that means.

We spoke a little bit about its looks yesterday and it is far better looking than its predecessor. At the front, its new Q8-inspired face looks premium and dynamic, rather than the rather bland face of the first-gen model. So this new car gets similar headlights (which now offer Matrix LED lighting) and a similarly octagonal grille to the flagship Audi Q8, which is how trickle-down design is down properly.

Down the side, it gets a new shoulder line, which runs the length of the car and swells over each wheel arch, and it gives the new Audi Q3 a much more muscular, much more dynamic look. So rather than looking like a hatchback on stilts, as the previous-gen car did, this new Q3 looks like a properly athletic SUV. It also looks more expensive, with crisply-stamped body work and more visually interesting styling.

The new Q3 also gets black color contrasting wheel arches and side skirts which, according to Audi, give it more of an off-road look. While that’s sort of true, we hope there will be an option to body color them, as the black arches can look a bit cheap.

For us, though, the real story is inside. We knew the new Audi Q3 would look good, as every new Audi SUV looks good. But the interior is such a far cry from the previous car and, much like the new Audi A1, represents the most luxury and technology you can get in an SUV in this segment. The Audi Q3 competes with cars like the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and this interior crushes both of theirs.

With a slick new design, that features a modern-looking dash layout, some really interesting trim touches like Alcantara and a massive touchscreen MMI screen, the Audi Q3 is really one of the best in the segment. The only other car that can compete with the Q3, in terms of interior design in this segment, is the Volvo XC40. It will be interesting to test both cars back to back. We also like how the HVAC controls are physical buttons and dials, rather than integrated into another touchscreen. It’s just more functional that way. All of which is tilted toward the driver, by the way, like a throwback to older German cars, which makes the cabin seem far more driver-oriented. We like that.

Of course, the Audi Q3 gets the brand’s latest Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel, which looks as slick as ever. It’s the same new unit you’ll find in the top-shelf Audi Q8 and that means it’s the best in the business. Also of course, the new Q3 comes with Audi’s latest connected technology, which means it gets LTE connectivity as-standard, as well as a WiFi hotspot.

Inside the the Q3, you’ll find a surprisingly practical cargo area, despite the car’s relatively small size. Depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests, the luggage compartment capacity ranges between 530 and 1,525 liters (18.7-53.9 cu ft). The load floor can also be adjusted to three different levels, allowing for more combinations of cargo capacity and loading ease. Also, the parcel shelf can be stowed underneath the load floor, so if you need to take something out you don’t have to find something to do with it.

As enthusiasts, though, you want to know how it’s going to drive. Well, the new 2019 Audi Q3 is built on the brand’s commonly used MQB architecture, which underpins cars like the Audi A3, S3 and even the TT and TT RS. So it’s proven to be a dynamic chassis platform.

At launch, there will be four engines available, three gasoline and one diesel, with power outputs ranging from 150 hp to 230 hp. Expect only one engine for the U.S. market, though, and it will likely be the same 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in the newly-refreshed Audi A3. That little four-pot makes 220 hp and will be more than enough for the Q3. All engines will be mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed dual-clutch but don’t expect the manual west of the Atlantic. Customers will also have a choice of either front or all-wheel drive.

The Audi Q3 will go on sale this coming November in Europe. There’s no word on its official release in North America but expect it to be some time in 2019.