Ingolstadt - Audi is raising its compact SUV game in a big way with its all-new, second generation Q3, which boasts a striking new design inspired by the Q8, as well as a highly digitised interior and many of the German brand’s latest gadgets.

Shifting onto the VW Group’s MQB platform, the Q3 has grown in all directions, gaining 25mm in width and 97mm in length - 77mm of that going into the wheelbase - while overall height has been reduced by 5mm.

Not only is there more space inside, but it’s more versatile too, thanks to a sliding rear seat, with  boot space varying between 530 and 675 litres depending on its position.

The South African engine range has yet to be finalised, but globally there are four turbocharged engine options - three petrol and one diesel - with outputs ranging between 110kW and 169kW. Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive is available, of course, and customers can opt for suspension with adaptive damping.

Numerous customisation options are available too, including contrasting exterior paint finishes and an S line package with unique bumpers and trimmings, all of which can be mixed freely with three interior styling packages.

The Q3’s cabin takes much of its design inspiration from the latest A6 and A7 models, including the new MMI central touch display surrounded by high gloss black trim, although the climate controls remain analogue.

That’s not the case with the instrument cluster however, which is digital across the range, although the system fitted to base models is more basic than the multi-mode and more comprehensive optional ‘Virtual Cockpit’ which adds extra features and a navigation view.

The fanciest MMI option is the Navigation Plus with a 25.6cm touchscreen, natural voice control and an advanced navigation system that can recognise driver preferences. Customers can further opt for a high-end 680 watt, 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system.

As for driver assist systems, the Q3 comes standard with Audi’s pre-sense frontal safety system with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detection as well as auto braking.

The options list includes a new adaptive cruise assist that incorporates traffic jam and lane assist functions and there’s a surround view system powered by four 360-degree cameras.

Audi SA is aiming to launch the new Q3 locally during the first quarter of 2019.

IOL Motoring