Audi Q3 2.0 TDI Quattro S Line 5d S Tronic (2015)

  • Top-selling Audi Q3 tested in most popular trim
  • Higher-powered diesel engine drives well
  • Priced from £33,370 with no optional extras

Try to ignore the colour and plastic bumpers – they're not coming to the UK - but everything else you see here is the face-lifted 2015 Audi Q3, improved to keep pace with the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the BMW X1.

Driven in Munich, Germany, we found a car that’s been incrementally improved offering better value than ever. We’re testing it in what is expected to be the most popular version – the higher-powered diesel, coupled with the S tronic automatic gearbox in sporty S line specification.

Powerful diesel engine

The engine is a 2-litre diesel with 182bhp and 380Nm of torque between 1,800 and 3,250rpm, which means 0-62mph is possible in 7.9 seconds and top speed is 136mph. That's 0.3 seconds faster than before. 

Economy and emissions have improved also, and in this configuration Audi claims fuel economy of 51.4mpg is possible. We'd be surprised if the trip computer creeps over 45mpg during normal driving though. With CO2 emissions of 143g/km, VED car tax will cost £145 per year at 2014/15 rates. Company car tax will cost around £134 per month for a 20 percent tax payer assuming no optional extras.

While the engine is admittedly a little vocal at lower speeds, rattling away with a less-than-attractive diesel chunter, there’s a large enough spread of torque to make driving enjoyable. It’s matched beautifully with the seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox, which never seems to break stride and always has a gear there waiting for you.

Easy to drive

Probably the best thing we can say about this gearbox, though, is that it’s so smooth you’ll forget what gears are during normal driving.

Overall the Q3 is a pretty quiet, with smooth driving manners, so you shouldn’t let the engine’s occasional grumbling put you off. If it does, the impressively refined 1.4-litre petrol CoD would be worth a test drive.

Audi Q3 interior

Extra equipment

You now get a host of extra or improved equipment on S Line models too. Those 18-inch alloys are of a new design, while LED headlights at the front join rear tail light clusters with LED indicators which sweep left or right in the direction you’re intending to turn.

Electrically adjustable, folding heated door mirrors are now standard-fit, while front occupants get sports seats finished in a cloth and leather material featuring four-way electric adjustment of the lumbar support.

Audi’s Drive Select adaptive dynamics system is now installed on all Q3s, allowing drivers to tailor throttle response, steering weighting and gearshift speed (automatic only) to their individual requirements.

As an extra practicality boost, a powered boot door is thrown in too.

On the outside the Q3 benefits from a new surround for the front grille. This 3D-style arrangement helps the front end appear more modern and supplements the removal of front fog lights (not necessary thanks to LED headlights) and updated front and rear bumpers.

Verdict

It’s difficult to call this update anything more than incremental, but it has made the Q3 more desirable and since this is set to be the top-selling model it’s difficult to recommend anything else. That said, those doing lower-mileage journeys or after a quieter drive could well consider the excellent 1.4 CoD petrol engine instead.

The S line version of the Q3 184PS S tronic costs from £33,370 with no optional extras. Order books open in January 2015 with deliveries starting a few months after in March.