By Declan Glynn

In keeping with Audi tradition, the latest Q3 looks relatively similar to its predecessor.

There is a new front grille with octagonal edges, new headlamps, and the car’s profile is taller, emphasising its crossover credentials.

Bulging rear wheel arches are styled similarly to those of the new Audi A6 and A8 saloons, and give a whole new dimension to the exterior of the car.

The new Audi Q3 is offered with a range of petrol (1.5-litre and 2.0-litre) and diesel (2.0-litre) engines, and you can opt for a quattro four-wheel-drive powertrain, and six-speed manual, or seven-speed dual clutch S-tronic transmission.

The new Q3 is 18mm wider and 97mm longer than its predecessor, which is enough to make a noticeable difference to cabin space, especially for rear seat passengers.

Two specifications are available in the new Q3 – SE and S Line, with both models equipped with a wide range of Audi features, such as its hugely impressive Virtual Cockpit digital dash, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, Bluetooth, voice control, Audi Connect navigation and infotainment.

Other features include cruise control with speed limiter, LED headlights, auto lights and wipers, rear spoiler, lane departure warning with lane change assist, hill descent control and hill hold assist.

There’re also front and rear parking sensors, multiple airbags, along with many more standard premium features.

My review car was a new Audi Q3 1.5TSI (35TSI) S Line, S-tronic finished in stylish Chronos Grey metallic paintwork.

Building on the SE model’s hugely impressive standard specification, S Line also benefits from 19” 5-double spoke dynamic alloy wheels, exclusive S Line interior and exterior highlights, sports front seats, stainless steel pedals, matt brushed aluminium inlays, black headlining cloth, sports suspension, full LED headlamps with dynamic rear indicators, and an LED interior pack.

With 150bhp and 250Nm of torque available, the petrol engine in my review car was capable of a 0-100km/h sprint in just 9.6-seconds, while returning fuel consumption as low as 5.4l/100km on an extra urban cycle.

The S-tronic gearbox combines the efficiency and sportiness of a conventional manual gearbox with the convenience of a modern automatic.

The dual-clutch gearbox enables rapid shifting with almost no noticeable interruption in the power flow.

The vehicle accelerates smoothly and dynamically as a result, and makes every journey a pleasure.

The new Q3 offers class-leading ride quality, with the car absorbing road undulations extremely well – even with the larger alloy wheels and lower suspension of the S Line model I drove.

It is clear to see that the new Q3 is built with Audi’s thorough attention to detail, and there’s a genuinely high-quality precision feel to the way it’s put together, inside and out.

Excellent driving dynamics, and faultless road manners, ensure that the car drives every bit as good as it looks, with secure handling taking centre-stage in the overall driving experience.

The interior of the new Q3 is a combination of luxury, sportiness and intuitive design.

With Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, you can configure the dash display with a range of driving and navigation information and graphics, while a second similarly large display in the middle of the dash deals with all the other infotainment and vehicle functions.

Thanks to its SUV proportions, the Q3 is easy to get in and out of, and provides excellent all-round visibility too.

The luggage compartment has a volume of up to 675-litres with the rear seats in place, but this expands to a very impressive 1,525-litres with the rear seats folded.

Pricing for the new Audi Q3 starts at €38,600, while a comprehensive suite of optional extras will allow for the ultimate in premium brand personalisation.