The compact SUV segment is very attractive to premium manufacturers. These cars are very popular in Europe and bring a lot of money, but that's truer of the BMW X1 more recently than the Audi Q3. That has to change and that's why Audi is launching the third generation Q3.
- The last third quarter with combustion engines
- As a plug-in, but not as an electric vehicle
- Also available as a Sportback version
We also can't know how much money an automaker makes on a particular model, but you can count on an above-average margin being made from luxury compact SUVs like the Audi Q3. Technically, these types of cars are often associated with more compact models – from the Q3 to the A3 and therefore also from the Volkswagen Golf – but given the combination of a premium badge and a high SUV body, this brand can suddenly ask for a lot more for it. . With some options, €60,000 or even €70,000 for such a car in the Netherlands is certainly no exception, even if it is an eco-hybrid. In this regard, a smaller SUV is often an alternative to a larger sedan or station wagon: you can almost buy a Mercedes GLA for C-Class money, or a BMW. In an Audi showroom, people might hesitate between the A4 and the A3 S3.
They've been doing this since 2011, when the first third quarter came around. This means that Audi arrived to this party later than BMW, but before Mercedes. The second generation Q3 debuted in 2018, so the turn of the third generation will come soon. The fact that Audi is entering the next generation without changing the name is due to the fact that the number 3 is an odd number. From now on, Audi reserves these non-divisible numbers for cars with combustion engines, while the even numbers are only for electric cars. In fact, SUVs in this class are a good example, because in addition to the Q3, Audi has been offering the big Q4 e-tron in one form or another as an electric alternative for years. This situation will remain unchanged when the new third quarter arrives. So the Q3 will not be an electric car (there is and will remain a Q4 for that) and it is expected to be the last of its kind before everything at Audi goes electric as well.
A little more fun
Regarding the design, of course we shouldn't expect any major shocks – it's Audi – but some things are changing. Audi also joins the growing list of brands that spread the lighting at the front in two layers. The actual headlights are positioned lower than the daytime running lights, which visually act as “headlights” due to their location directly next to the grille. For the wings, Audi opts for a more playful design for the window pillars compared to the current very practical Q3, which looks like a mini Q5 in every way. With the new car we expect a window frame that visually separates the roof from the rest of the car and also intersects with the thick rear window pillar at the top, before joining the rear window. This also creates a beautiful canvas for the car's two-tone bodywork, which will no doubt be available as an option. Perhaps Audi is hoping to lure some Q2 buyers to the Q3 with this slightly less elegant design, because the compact Q2 will be gone soon and no successor is expected. As a sort of second alternative, a brand new SUV also comes to the Volkswagen range: the Cupra Terramar. Not only is it comparable in size to the new Q3, but it can also share the necessary visual bits with it.
The rear lighting section of the new Q3 consists of the almost obligatory light bar, especially for an Audi, but with a twist. Not only does this beam have thicker sections on both sides, as with the Q8 E-tron, but it also has large extensions at the bottom. Anyone who finds the look offered here very practical can also opt for the Sportback model. It remains to be seen whether the stunning RS Q3 also has a future. In this segment, a super-fast top version is not a no-brainer (Mercedes does it too) and the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine from the current and previous RS Q3 has lasted a surprisingly long time. Audi has of course opted for a high degree of electrification for the regular versions, in the form of hybrid petrol engines and one or more hybrid engines. Compared to the current generation, they will have additional electric range, because developments are moving quickly in this part of the market. We expect the new Audi Q3 to be unveiled in 2024. No, not necessarily in the third quarter, although that would be appropriate of course.
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