Audi Q3 I, a posher Tiguan but reserved only for those with lots of money. Audi Q3 I, “I have too much money for a Tiguan but I don’t really want to take the plunge towards a Q5”.

Audi Q3 I was a bestseller for Audi and with that I can go home. You don’t need me anymore info. It happened in 2011, when Audi said it wanted a piece of the cross-over cake. Cars like the Suzuki Vitara, the Mitsubishi ASX, the Nissan Qashqai or the VW Tiguan took over the car market by storm just as Vitaly Zhuravsky was taken by storm and thrown into a dumpster.

There is a problem though. Audi had to come up with a solution to the Tiguan problem, because it wouldn’t work to just slap an Audi badge on a Tiguan and then sell it. So they did what they know best. Just as the Audi A3 is a VW Golf with tightened screws a little better, so is the Audi Q3 I a Tiguan with  slightly better tightened screws. A posher Tiguan? An Audi A3 with longer legs? Only the clairvoyant Ildiko can tell us the truth.

So Audi set off with a lot of enthusiasm and launched the Audi Q3 in the automotive sea and surprisingly the gamble paid off. Aspiring Tiguan customers who cared about the image flocked to the Q3. But also aspiring Q5 customers flocked to the Q3, people who do not want a status SUV, they just want a status car that has a high sitting position in traffic so that they can stand above the peasants.

Furthermore, they really put thought into the Q3 and introduced only the engines where they had no doubts about reliability, thus removing the dubious 1.6 TDI which is a good engine on the road but very bad in the city, and they knew that the typical owner of Audi Q3 will use his car from home to work, from work to mall and from mall to home. They slapped a premium price tag and then found out that they can downsize even more and launched the Audi Q2 which excites me as much as the pictures of Jeremy Clarkson at the beach.

Audi Q3 I Engines


  • 1.4 TSI of 150 horsepower  – This was probably the only engine that should’ve been available on the Audi Q3 I, as was the case with the 2.0 diesel on the F30 3 Series from BMW. Audi understood its mall clientele very well and so they mounted an excellent engine for the city chaos and it also handles occasional long drives.
  • 2.0 TSI of 170, 180, 210 and 220 horsepower – The only difference between them is that the 170 and 180 horsepower versions have standard front wheel drive and the 211 and 220 horsepower come standard with Quattro system. It’s hard to believe that too many people rushed to this engine tho.
  • 2.5 TSI of 310, 340 and 367 horsepower – It is admirable that Audi still makes this engine today. A fantastic, elastic, bombastic engine on the Audi A3 and Audi TT, but on the Audi Q3 I it is more meaningless than my life. Plus when you consider how much does it cost, you are Broadmoor hospital certified.


2.0 TDI of 120, 140, 150, 177 and 184 horsepower – No meal without fish, Tito once said. And VW says “no car without 2.0 TDI”. This village bicycle does an admirable job on the Audi Q3, but it seems to be a bit much. Plus the Audi Q3 is a city car, and the 2.0 TDI will be more tormented than a minimum wage employee in UK. The double-mass flywheel and clutch wear out faster than you’d like, and you’ll have the DPF standing in the corner, waiting to say “Bonjour!”

Audi Q3 I General Issues

  • Pre-2013 petrol engines have massive oil consumption issues. At least VW promises us that from 2013 onwards they have solved the issue and we have to take their word for it. In any case, it is worth checking the oil level occasionally.
  • Diesel engines took a kick in the nads in 2015, courtesy of the Dieselgate scandal. You should check if the car has had Dieselgate software installed and if you like how it is driving.
  • Audi headlights are unimaginably expensive, and the Audi Q3 I has not escaped the triple-halogens that fit into the matrix of leadership or whatever is written in the brochure.
  • Brake discs tend to rust quickly if driven frequently on salty roads. This is not the case with us, but it is good to know in case you face the winter in a poorer country where the roads get salt instead of actual anti-skid material.
  • We still have the DSG box from VW, disguised here in “S Tronic”. We talked too much on the subject, the idea is that the oil changes must be made regularly and candles must be lit and prayers be made so that the Mechatronic does not break down. Theoretically we have modern DSGs on Q3, but it’s VW so we can never know and can never assume the best.


Audi Q3 I Verdict

It’s a posher Tiguan and with that I said about 90% of what I had to say. It’s good that Audi woke up and realized that people don’t really want full size SUVs, they just want taller cars and a lot of people are intimidated even by the size of a Q5. Because the Audi Q3 has not yet reached the prices worthy of Q5, X4 or X6 customers directly. No, the Audi Q3 is more like in the Tiguan / Rav4 area, in other words the normal car of normal people but who have above average financial potency. It is not a car that only those who have chosen other paths in life can afford, it is a car that you can afford and without make compromises like sleeping at night with at least 1 eye open because of the very real possibility that you can be jumped by the police or rival mobsters at any time.

Which engines do I recommend? For petrol I clearly recommend the 1.4 TSI 150 horsepower unit. And I will recommend diesel just because I have to, namely the 150-horsepower 2.0 TDI which is literally everywhere. Although, the Audi Q3 and the diesel engine go together just as well as incense goes with heroin.