LONG-TERM UPDATE 1 | Audi Q3 35 TFSI Black Edition joins our fleet

Black Edition trim throws in dark, glossy elements.
Black Edition trim throws in dark, glossy elements.
Image: Supplied

Close relatives of mine recently asked me for advice on what they should replace their five-year-old Audi Q3 with. They sought a vehicle in the same category, at a roughly similar price point.

At the top of my recommendation list was the latest BMW X1, launched in the country last year. Aside from being one of the more palatable modern designs to come from the firm, the baby of the X-range boasts clever packaging, polished on-road dynamics and a cabin that manages to be minimalistic yet warm and inviting.

They could have also considered the Mercedes-Benz GLA, but the brand has a really interesting pricing strategy, which through the eyes of the average consumer leaves more questions than answers: why is it so much more expensive than its direct rivals?

They ended up replacing their 2019 Q3 1.4 TFSI with ... another Audi Q3: the 35 TFSI in high-tier Black Edition guise — basically the same car they bought five years ago but with richer specification.

Boot space is in excess of 500 litres and the tailgate is electrically operated.
Boot space is in excess of 500 litres and the tailgate is electrically operated.
Image: Supplied

Remember that five years ago, Audi had yet to adopt its current (confusing) derivative nomenclature. The 1.4 TFSI is exactly the same as the 35 TFSI. No changes in the engine department.

Sometimes when people seek advice from us motoring scribes, their minds are already made up and all they want is affirmation. Familiarity is the clincher, sometimes, when making a significant decision. Those relatives of mine know the car inside and out, clearly have a good relationship with their local dealer and have come to enjoy the consistency in service they receive.

Coincidentally, our newest addition to the long-term test fleet is a Q3 35 TFSI Black Edition, which should make for a nifty parking garage picture on the next visit to said relatives.

Hard to believe that it has been a half-decade since Audi launched this second generation of its Q3 to the market. Until the Q2 arrived in 2017, the Q3 was the original baby of the Q-car range, first released locally in 2012.

Panoramic sunroof is standard.
Panoramic sunroof is standard.
Image: Supplied

Not much has changed since the 2019 version was released. With the Black Edition offering, Audi hopes to take full advantage of Mzansi consumers' partiality to high-specification grades. See, instead of ticking various option boxes, the Black Edition comprises some of the most popular extras.

For your R868,050 you get: a panoramic sunroof, the semi-autonomous parking aid system, keyless-entry, keyless-start, electrically-operated tailgate, front seat heaters and front electric seat adjustment. Of course, this is in addition to the standard Q3 equipment list.

On the outside, look out for bumper elements, Audi emblems and the front grille are all blacked-out in glossy trimmings. Same goes for the side mirrors. Rounding-off the darker look is a set of 19-inch, multi-spoke alloy wheels. The interior has sportier seat frames, a black headliner and a steering wheel with a flat-bottom edge.

My maiden voyage with the Q3 saw me cruising down the M1 (north), joining the N1 and exiting at Winnie Mandela Drive. Consumption went all the way down to 5l/100km on this leisurely freeway stint. The 1,395cc turbocharged four-cylinder motor ticked over at about 3,000rpm at 110km/h, hardly breaking a sweat. But after another 70km of shorter commutes around town, the average had gone up to 7.8l/100km.

Audi build quality remains excellent, with heated seats a welcome feature.
Audi build quality remains excellent, with heated seats a welcome feature.
Image: Supplied

Its 110kW/250Nm is reasonably flexible, with acceptable grunt for quicker overtaking manoeuvres, as well as when maintaining pace in the cut and thrust of daily traffic. Drive is to the front wheels, via a six-speed, dual-clutch automatic.

Interesting to note is that for less money, you can have a bigger engine, all-wheel drive and a sleeker body format: the 2.0-litre 40 TFSI Quattro S-Line Sportback goes for R839,600.

All models benefit from a five-year/100,000km maintenance plan and one-year/unlimited-km warranty.

Getting back behind the wheel of the Q3 after many years provided a reminder of its sturdy build. Audi is still a beacon of what a quality interior ought to be, with rich materials, quirk-free ergonomics and an impregnable solidity overall.

The Q3 will be in our possession for the next three months, so stay tuned for updates on just about every aspect of life together.

LONG-TERM UPDATE INTRODUCTION | 2024 Audi Q3 35 TFSI S-Tronic (Black Edition)

  • PRAISES: Stylish exterior, high-quality interior, fully loaded with features.
  • GRIPES: Black Edition comes at a price — odd to have a range-topper with the smallest displacement available.



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