The dark and brooding good looks of the Black Edition models that have been mainstays of the Audi A4, A5, A6 and A7 Sportback ranges have inspired a new Q3 Black Edition that spearheads a wholesale update of the perenially popular compact SUV line-up. The new top flight Q3 and the sharper, even better equipped versions that sit below it will become available later this month priced from £26,600 OTR, and will reach their first customers towards the end of the year.
As part of the programme of revisions the current Q3 specification structure, starting with SE, moving to S line Navigation and then on to S line plus, has shifted further upwards. At entry level, SE becomes Sport through the addition of SD navigation as standard and through styling enhancements that lend an even more purposeful air, including larger front air vents and a body-coloured front diffuser.
S line Navigation models become S line Edition by gaining standard interior features such as cruise control and the Audi Parking System Plus, and by adopting a new look for the front end, which now incorporates a distinctive horizontal strut spanning its full width, above which are air inlets with more pronounced surrounds and a new diamond-pattern mesh design. They flank a more eyecatching Single Frame grille with a new high gloss finish which is also shared by the air vents.
The main attraction in the range is now the Q3 Black Edition, which stays true to the concept introduced so successfully elsewhere in the Audi range. Replacing the S line plus model, it builds on that version’s already extensive specification with features such as standard metallic paint, privacy glass from the B pillar rearwards and a Bose sound system upgrade, but its key point of differentiation is of course the distinctive black treatment for many of its parts. These start in the cabin with piano black inlays, and continue outside to take in everything from the 19-inch alloy wheels, wheel arch cappings and Single Frame grille surround to the roof rails, rear spoiler and tailpipes, all of which are finished in gloss black.
Aside from the now range-wide satellite navigation, standard equipment for all Q3 models is plentiful, and includes Audi Music and Bluetooth interfaces, sensor control for parking (rear only in the Sport, front and rear in the S line Edition and Black Edition), for lighting and for wiper function, dual-zone climate control and a Concert audio system with DAB radio linked to a 6.5-inch manually retractable colour monitor. Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights feature as standard in Sport versions, while S line Edition and Black Edition specification levels upgrade to all-weather LED headlights and dynamic ‘scrolling’ rear indicators which illuminate sequentially within two-tenths of a second from the inside out in the direction the driver intends to turn.
Under the skin, two TDI diesel and two TFSI petrol engines are available, depending on the chosen specification. The 1.4-litre TFSI with Cylinder-on-Demand technology brings 150PS and the option of either manual or S tronic twin-clutch automatic transmission. It gives the exclusively front-wheel-driven Q3 1.4 TFSI a 0-62mph sprint time of as little as 8.9 seconds (S tronic), but also 51.4mpg capability (manual) based on the combined cycle test. Above it in the petrol line-up is a 2.0-litre TFSI unit with 180PS, which can be linked to either manual or S tronic transmission and works with quattro all-wheel-drive without exception.
Forming the diesel contingent are two four-cylinder, 2.0-litre TDIs with outputs of 150PS and 184PS. When linked to manual transmission and Sport specification with its 17-inch wheels, the 150PS version has the potential to return up to 62.8mpg with CO2 output of just 117g/km.
The 2.0-litre 150PS TDI engine can work with either manual or S tronic transmission and can channel its output through either the front wheels only or through all four with the help of the quattro system. The 184PS version also offers two transmission options, but deploys its heightened power and torque solely via quattro drive.
The composed agility of the Q3 chassis imparts a nimble feel that belies its SUV dimensions, and the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system – a standard feature of all Q3 models – enables drivers to make the most of it by adjusting throttle response, automatic transmission shift points and operating characteristics of other optional components such as the damper control system to suit personal preferences.
Up to five adults can enjoy the ride in comfort and with space to spare, and their luggage can be equally comfortably accommodated in the 420-litre load compartment, which in S line Edition and Black Edition versions is accessible at the touch of a button thanks to powered tailgate operation. When the back seat is free, its split backrest can be folded to liberate a total of 1,325 litres of cargo capacity.