» » Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI S-line first drive review

Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI S-line first drive review

This is the cheapest way into an Audi Q3. Until recently, that role was filled by a 138bhp, front-wheel-drive 2.0 TDI SE manual costing £25,595. Now, if you cant stretch to that, or if youre averse to or have no need for diesel power, theres this 1.4 TFSI-engined option, which undercuts the once entry-level TDI by a full £1725.

Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI S-line first drive review

Just to cloud the issue slightly, here the 1.4 TFSI is tested in more expensive S-line trim, although the price difference between it, at £26,620, and an S-line-spec front-drive 2.0 TDI is the same £1725.

The 148bhp 1.4 TFSI beats the diesel on power but predictably falls short on torque, making 184lb ft to the TDIs 236lb ft. It also lags behind on claimed economy 47.9mpg combined to a front-drive diesels 54.3mpg, but consider that £1725 difference in initial outlay and the lower cost of petrol although CO2 emissions match at 137g/km.

Note that the 1.4 TFSI unit used here isnt the Volkswagen Groups latest version featuring whatAudidubs Cylinder on Demand (CoD) technology, which runs the four-pot engine on just two cylinders under light throttle loads. That engine is already available in the A3 range.

What is it like?

As it is, this 1.4 TFSI suits Audis compact SUV quite nicely. Its 55kg lighter in the nose than the diesel for starters, so the car feels a tad more agile.

You notice the torque deficit, though, however for the most part its no hardship to rev the quietly refined but enthusiastic petrol lump harder to compensate.

Of course the trade-off for this extra throttle use is reduced real-world fuel economy. Drive with a modicum of restraint and youll see figures in the low 40s, but mid-30s are only a twitch of the right foot away.

One caveat, however. The engines deficiencies are most apparent when pulling away from a standstill. In order to make prompt getaways its necessary to work the engine quite hard or risk having to play catch-up after changing to second gear. The problem would largely be solved if you bought your Q3 with a rapid-shifting S-tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but the £1495 premium required for it would offset much of the 1.4 TFSIs cost advantage over a diesel.

Elsewhere, as weve recently noticed, the Q3′s sometimes crashy ride has gained some welcome suppleness and more than can be attributed to the difference in kerb weight over a diesel while the steering is alarmingly lifeless around town and only slightly better as speeds increase.

The interior is another Audi masterclass in cabin execution. Allied to the raised driving position, toned if not muscular SUV aesthetic and all-round feeling of robust, premium gloss, it makes up a significant chunk of the Q3′s appeal in the first place.

Should I buy one?

You could make a strong case for it. This isnt a large car on the inside, despite its exterior proportions, but if youre sold on the four-ringed allure and want a place on the compact SUV bandwagon, then fill your boots.

Whether this petrol option is right for you depends on much on what you plan doing with the car. Yes, you will get fewer miles to the gallon than in a diesel, but that £1725 difference in asking price will buy nearly 300 gallons of unleaded right now, or enough for more than 10,000 miles of motoring at 35mpg. The 1.4 TFSI petrol engine only adds refinement to the overall package and it doesnt want for performance, so for lower-mileage users it could prove to be the ideal way into a slick and likeable product.

Audi Q3 1.4 TFSI S-line

Price £26,620; 0-62mph 9.2sec; Top speed 126mph; Economy 47.9mpg; CO 2137g/km; Kerb weight 1385kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1394cc, turbo, petrol; Power 148bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 1750-3000rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual.