The Audi Q3 is the German automaker’s oldest crossover and is in dire need of an upgrade. Fortunately, the brand is finishing work on an entirely new generation that’s lighter, more upmarket and more practical. This new model will arrive in the dealerships this year.
The current car’s underpinnings can be traced back to the Mk5 VW Golf, and like so many other models within the VW Group, the new version will switch to the flexible MQB platform – used on everything from Audi’s TT sports car to the Skoda Kodiaq SUV. The new underpinnings present various advantages: less weight, more space and the possibility of plug-in hybrid technology. The new model will share a similar footprint to the current Q3, but there will be small improvements in length and width – 60mm and 50mm respectively – while the wheelbase is expected to be stretched by up to 50mm, too.
Audi is expected to follow a similar design approach that the brand adopted on the second-generation Q5. This means a modest exterior revamp for the BMW X1 rival, with a new grille and sharper LED headlamps. However, more radical changes are due inside. The current model’s cluttered dashboard and centre console design will make way for a far more modern and more ergonomic layout, inspired by the larger Q5. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display will replace the conventional instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, while a dashboard that is designed horizontally rather than vertically will increase the visual width of the cabin.
The MQB platform will open up a range of new engine possibilities for the Q3, with the most significant being a plug-in hybrid e-tron. It won’t arrive immediately, however, and is likely to land around 12 months after the Q3’s initial launch. The powertrain is expected to comprise a 1.4-litre TFSI engine and an electric motor.