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As a small crossover at the bottom of the lineup, the 2018 Audi Q3 straddles a middle ground between the A3 Sportback (hatchback) and its larger Q5 brother. It doesn’t forge a new path for Audi design: it adopts familiar cues to a smaller canvas. The Q3’s looks almost came predetermined. It had to fit into both the confines of a crossover and an Audi. That meant the roof height, length, and overall shape had to fit into a formula, and so did the grille and other familiar cues. The result is a tidy, though somewhat stubby crossover that should age fairly well.
Up front, the Q3’s grille sits low, flanked by narrow headlights that balance out intakes that look fairly large for this vehicle. This year even the base model gets the meaner-looking S line front bumper and door sills. The flanks are sculpted gently, and the glass is slimmer than that of the Q5. The tailgate wraps around the rear end, and the LED taillights provide an attractive rear signature.
The 2018 Audi Q3 keeps performance simple. Only one engine and transmission are offered, and Audi has just a single suspension setup. The only choice is between front- and all-wheel drive. The suspension features a four-link rear setup with front struts and fairly quick electric-assist power steering. It doesn’t provide a lot of feedback from the road like the BMW X1 does, but the steering is responsive and reasonably quick, the ride is well-damped, and the handling is agile. The overall feel is actually sportier than the X1, yet the ride isn’t nearly as harsh as you find in the Mercedes-Benz GLA. It’s a good balance.
The powertrain consists of a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that puts out 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This engine is exceptionally well-tuned and responsive, and the transmission has well-spaced gears and delivers confident shifts.
All 207 lb-ft of torque are available by 2,000 rpm, and that helps for getting out ahead of traffic. However, at about 3,500 pounds, the Q3 is heavier than it looks and the 0-60 mph run takes a pedestrian 7.8 seconds with front-wheel drive or 8.2 seconds with all-wheel drive. The top speed is 130 mph, but you will likely need patience to get there. If power and performance are the goals, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 is the one and only choice in this class.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.