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2022 Audi Q3 S Line Test Drive

While luxury cars were once known for their size, modern luxury vehicles like the 2022 Audi Q3 prove that you can get big luxury in a small package. At this point, there's no shortage of subcompact luxury SUVs for the Q3 to compete against, with the Lexus NX, Cadillac XT4 and BMW X1 being just a few. But the offering from Ingolstadt brings a lot to the table.   

The current version of Audi's baby Q was launched for the 2019 model year, and for 2022, this little SUV gets some minor safety updates. For this review, I was able to sample the 2022 Audi Q3 decked out in the SUV's more powerful S Line trim level.

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2022 Audi Q3 S Line Exterior

2022 Audi Q3 S Line Test Drive

With sleek styling inspired by the larger Q8, the redesigned Audi Q3 has a more premium look than its predecessor. More importantly, the Q3 actually looks like a small SUV rather than a raised-up hatchback. 

The new Q3 is longer, taller and wider than its predecessor, and the shape and proportions of this SUV are perfect for maximizing curb appeal and interior space. As if the Q3 didn't look sporty enough, this tester came painted in an eye-catching Tango Red Metallic paint job ($595) combined with optional ($800) 20-inch double-spoke wheels and the $1,700 Black Optic Sport Package that adds blacked-out exterior accents like the grille, roof rails, rocker panel and window trim. 

To give the Q3 a truly high-tech look, this tester was equipped with the $3,300 Premium Plus package adding full LED exterior lighting (including sequential rear turn signals), Audi advanced key and power-folding door mirrors. For an extra $275, LED puddle lights proudly display the Audi four-ring logo when approaching the vehicle.

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2022 Audi Q3 S Line Interior

2022 Audi Q3 S Line Test Drive

In terms of the cabin design, the interior of the 2022 Audi Q3 is exactly what you should expect from a modern Audi, and even the presence of plastic trim and finger-print-prone gloss black accents can't take away from the overall experience. 

The tech-focused interior of the Q3 comes standard with a fully digital 10.25-inch gauge cluster and an 8.8-inch infotainment screen. But this S Line tester was fitted with the $2,700 Technology Package that upgrades to the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit cluster and a 10.1-inch touchscreen navigation display. For 2022, all Q3 models are equipped with leather seating with heated front seats, a panoramic roof, four USB charging ports and the Audi smartphone interface (which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). This tester's aforementioned Black Optic Sport Package added in sport front bucket seats with contrasting stitching and the "S" logo embroidered into the seatback. 

While this second-generation Q3 provides far more interior space than its predecessor, it's just only middle of the pack for the subcompact luxury SUV segment. But despite its small footprint, it's surprisingly roomy. The five-passenger seating proved to be useful when I had to take my daughter and two of her teammates to a softball game, and the 23.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats was more than enough for their bulky gear, along with folding seats and a cooler for the grownups. If you need more cargo space, the 40/20/40 split rear seat folds down to accommodate a total 48 cubic feet. 

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2022 Audi Q3 S Line Performance 

2022 Audi Q3 S Line Test Drive

The Audi Q3 is offered in two flavors with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood. In base form (the Q3 40), this engine produces 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, but step up to the S Line (Q3 45) model and power output increases to 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Either way you go, the Q3 still pairs this engine to an eight-speed automatic along with standard quattro all-wheel drive. In this more powerful configuration, the Q3 returns EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

By no means is the Q3 a performance SUV like the SQ5 I drove recently, but the peppier S Line model is definitely fun to drive. According to Audi, the trip from zero to 60 mph takes seven seconds, so acceleration is nothing special. But when it comes to handling, the Q3 really shines. That shouldn't be a huge surprise, though, since it rides on the same VW family platform as the new Volkswagen Tiguan. During my week with the VW, I found it to be engaging, balanced and responsive, and all of these attributes hold true for the Q3. 

Add in the optional Bridgestone summer tires (included with the 20-inch wheels), and this little SUV is a blast in the corners. That said, most people will likely buy the Q3 for its quiet and luxurious ride, and it's worth noting that Audi's smallest SUV would make a fantastic commuter.

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2022 Audi Q3 S Line Safety

2022 Audi Q3 S Line Test Drive

Since its introduction, the current-gen Audi Q3 has always received a 5-Star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the 2022 model year adds even more standard safety features. 

All versions of the 2022 Audi Q3 now come with Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, and the Premium Plus package adds a new 360-degree camera in addition to Adaptive Cruise Assist and Active Lane Assist. Rear Side Airbags are a $350 option.

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2022 Audi Q3 S Line Overall

2022 Audi Q3 S Line Test Drive

Not everyone needs or wants an aggressive, high-powered machine like the R8 or RS7. So if you're looking for a more practical luxury vehicle that's still quite fun to drive, the 2022 Audi Q3 is a great option. Best of all, it packs a lot of content for less money than most of its rivals.

In base form, the Q3 (with standard AWD) has a starting MSRP of $36,400, while the more powerful Q3 S Line is priced from $39,700. Add in the extra styling, tech and luxury of this well-equipped test vehicle, and you're looking at an as-tested price of $49,995.

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Jeffrey N. Ross | May 31, 2022

2022 Audi Q3 S Line Specs

Layout

4-door
5-passenger
AWD

Engine/Transmission

2.0L I4
228 hp, 258 lb-ft
Eight-speed auto

Mileage

20/28
(city/hwy)

NHTSA Rating

★ ★ ★ ★ ★


AutoNation Drive Test Drive Review: ★ ★ ★ ★


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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.