Published on February 12th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi Q3 TFSI test drive review in Malaysia
This color is ‘Pulse Orange’ if you need to know
This here is the current generation new Audi Q3 which joins the Audi family of new models in Audi showrooms around the country.
Yes, Audi is Malaysia have been very very very quiet and this has been so since their office in Malaysia got scaled down to a small operation to work with existing dealers like Euromobil. Meanwhile, all major Audi operations are handled from their Singapore office which takes more pride in looking after the growing Singapore market.
From the time of Auto Dunia (who used to assemble the A6 and A4 sedans) some 25 years ago, all Audi’s sold in Malaysia are full imported. This puts its selling prices on the high side and not on par with its immediate rivals, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and BMW who all have local assembly to bring their selling prices down. Even with solid, sexy and powerful models on sale, Audi in Malaysia is hardly making in dent in the premium market, in good times and when buyers narrow down their purchases which was felt in 2019.
Just like Lexus Malaysia, Audi has to look at paying higher fully imported taxes and be contented with smaller volumes and a handful of showrooms in the country. They grey (used imported) market has also reduced and the Audi ownership in the country has scaled back a little.
The New SUV
Here comes a new Q3, designed to tackle the growing demand for premium compact SUV’s around the globe, it now comes with added zest. Its immediate rivals (premium crossovers that are fully imported) starts with the BMW X2 which sells for RM328,000, the Volvo XC40 at RM255,888 and the Lexus NX300 which retails for RM313,888. The X2 looks a little smaller and the NX a little bigger, so this Q3 slots right in between.
The new Audi Q3 looks much sportier than its predecessor. The Singleframe in octagon design and large side air inlets characterize the masculine front-end. Eight vertical bars divide up the radiator grille with its striking frame and reflect the SUV character. The headlights are narrow and run inwards with their wedge shape. Audi supplies them in three versions, all with LED technology. The top-of-the-line version are the Matrix LED headlights whose adaptive high beam intelligently illuminates the road.
A highlight in the side view is the symmetrical lighting graphics of the headlights and rear lights. The shoulder line connects them from a styling perspective and provides an athletic overall impression with strong muscles over the wheel arches. The contours draw their inspiration from Audi’s quattro DNA and make the SUV seem even wider; the color-contrasting wheel arch trims emphasize the offroad look. Supported by a long roof edge spoiler, which also flanks the rear window at the side, the steeply raked D pillars of the body line also create an appearance of forward thrust.
Customers for the new Audi Q3 have many options for customizing their car. These include a contrasting paint finish for the attachments in the lower body section, which accentuates the SUV look even more. With the S line exterior package, the bumpers, sill trims and diffuser look decidedly sporty. Eleven paint colors are available. The interior offers a choice of three equipment lines, which can be combined freely with three exterior packages.
Sporty character, taut lines, three-dimensionally styled elements – the interior continues the design of the exterior and echoes in many ways the brand’s full-size models. The instrument panel is divided into two levels: the top part includes the air vents; the bottom section incorporates the large octagonal area with its black-panel look. The instrument panel varies the motif of the Singleframe and is surrounded by a wide chrome strip. The high-gloss black trim surrounds the central element of the new operating concept: the MMI touch display. Together with the air conditioning controls underneath, it is tilted 10 degrees toward the driver. The pushbutton module for the lighting functions, which replaces the rotary control on the predecessor model, is slotted into the panel to the left of the steering wheel. All displays, buttons and controls are located ergonomically.
Q3 Space Concept
The new Audi Q3, which is based on the Volkswagen Group’s modular transverse matrix, has grown in virtually all dimensions and is positioned in the upper compact SUV segment. It is 4,485 millimeters (14.7 ft) long, making it 97 millimeters (3.8 in) longer than its predecessor. In terms of width, it has grown 25 millimeters (1.0 in) to 1,856 millimeters (6.1 ft), but at 1,585 millimeters (5.2 ft) is 5 millimeters (0.2 in) flatter than the first-generation Q3. Its wheelbase, which has been stretched 77 millimeters (3.0 in) to 2,680 millimeters (8.8 ft) is much more spacious – knee room, headroom and elbow room are even larger.
In typical SUV fashion, the Audi Q3 is easy to get into, with good all-round visibility, and yet offers a sporty seating position. The steering wheel is steeply angled accordingly. The seats – electrically adjustable as an option – offer the same comfort as in the next larger vehicle category.
One highlight is the standard-fit highly variable division of space: the rear seats can be moved fore/aft by 150 millimeters (5.9 in). Their three-way split backrests in the ratio 40:20:40 can be tilted in seven stages. Rear passengers also have the option of a center armrest that features two cup holders as standard.
Depending on the position of the rear seats and backrests, the luggage compartment capacity totals 530 or 675 liters (18.7/23.8 cu ft). With the backrests folded down the figure rises to 1,525 liters (53.9 cu ft). The loading floor can be adjusted in three levels; the low loading sill of 748 millimeters (29.4 in) makes it easier to stow heavy luggage. If the parcel shelf is not needed, it can be stowed under the loading floor.
The operating and display concept of the family SUV has been overhauled from the ground up where Audi has done away with the analog instruments. Even with the standard MMI radio there is a digital instrument cluster with a 10.25 inch screen diagonal, which the driver operates using the multifunction steering wheel.
From ignition this Audi is quiet and serene. Build quality is in keeping with Audi standard but the use of parts from the Volkswagen catalogue reduces its premium feel with us as the sibling, Volkswagen Tiguan at almost RM100k cheaper (Malaysian pricing) has many of the interior parts shared across. Yes, Audi is part of the VW Group, but Audi is a premium sibling and so a much more premium cabin is expected. It is like Toyota and Lexus. Many parts are shared but Lexus takes the added trouble to add a sense of occasion in their models over their Toyota siblings.
Maneuverable in town, agile on older town council maintained roads, a balanced feel on the highway, the suspension on this Audi Q3 offers exactly what the buyer demographic looks for in a Crossover today.
This Crossover takes bumpy roads with ease thanks also to the longer wheelbase. The driver can vary the characteristics of the Audi Q3 depending on the driving situation, road conditions or personal needs using the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. It offers six drive possibilities from comfortable to efficient to out-and-out sporty. The system influences the throttle response, steering and shift characteristics of the S tronic.
Seating for 5 adults is easily done despite its compact ‘looks’ as it is actually wider that it seems in pictures.
Wanting to get spirited with this Q3 is possible as it delivers an entertaining drive when called on with its surefooted handling and well damped suspension. The 1.4L turbocharged engine does not let you down in city ‘quick dash’ driving and when you find the highway lanes open, you can reach illegal speeds easily before its governed top speed.
Q3 Final Word
Is it worth its weight? Yes, for sure. It sits between the rivals offering more or else what every other rival has and still being priced right in the middle. No, we are not adding sugar to this review, just stating the fact of the matter.
Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI S tronic Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder TFSI
Power: 150bhp @ 5000-6000rpm
Torque: 250Nm @ 1500-3500rpm
Transmission: 6-speed S Tronic
Top speed: 207km/h