Ride and handling
Right from the off, it’s clear that the Q3 has been developed to be easy and effort-free to drive. The steering is light and predictably numb at low speeds, but with speed it does weight up. The next thing that hits you is the Q3’s somewhat tough ride. Even in the non-S line model on the smallest 18-inch wheels, it struggles to remain settled over small bumps and intrusions, juddering into the road surface despite the tall-profile tyres. Like the steering though, the ride does improve at higher speeds, even if it lacks the polish one would find in something such as the Volvo XC40.
Start to push harder though and the inherent quality inherited by the MQB platform starts to reveal itself, as with more load comes more dexterity to the way it flows down the road. It’s no Golf GTI, but pitch the Q3 into a corner and it grips, settles and exits with far more clarity and poise than you might feel is particularly necessary for this type of car. This is where the MQB-sourced bones come good, as the underlying chassis is relatively lightweight and stiff.
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It’s almost spritely, yet when connected to a raucous diesel engine and sloppy dual-clutch transmission, as many will be, the chassis easily outshines the rest of the Q3’s technical package. Play with the Q3’s driver modes and the throttle mapping and steering response do improve, although the optional adaptive dampers do little to make a marked difference to the Q3’s body control.