Great things come in small packages, right?
I sat down to write a review of the Audi Q3 to tell you all about the futuristic technology and beautiful finishes in this small SUV. And then I decided not to.
That’s because the thing that makes this SUV a must-have is the Audi Phone Box.
You Need the Audi Phone Box. Really.
When paired with Audi’s navigation package, it makes your phone-to-car experience absolutely seamless. As in, get into the car with your Bluetooth on (mine seems to always be on, even when I think it’s not), pop your phone into the Phone Box and your phone instantly does everything you want it to without having to do another single thing.
Your phone connects to the Bluetooth and to Apple CarPlay wirelessly. And while in the Phone Box, it charges.
It’s literally just that simple.
Related: 2019 Audi Q3: Borrowing From the Super Luxe Q8, Tech and Design Define this Compact Luxury SUV
What the Heck is the Audi Phone Box???
It’s a cubby below the center dash with a wireless phone charge pad and phone-boosting power. When your phone is placed there it charges and its signal is boosted by cycling through car’s shark fin antenna. Pretty darn smart.
It’s not a standard feature on the Premium model (base model with a starting price about $34,700), but available with a $6,900 upgrade to the Prestige package, which also gives you navigation and wireless Apple Car Play.
It is standard, however, on the Premium Plus trim (starting price of $37,800) but to get wireless Apple Car Play you’ll have to invest in the navigation package (a $2,000 upgrade). Or, it’s all standard (along with a bunch of other great features) in the Prestige trim, which starts at $42,900 but comes pretty fully loaded which includes park assist and a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Don’t Skip the Audi Virtual Cockpit
This may be my second favorite feature. It’s part of the navigation upgrade and it’s the most realistic virtual navigation and infotainment system you’ll see in a car today. The Audi approach mixes graphics with camera and satellite views for a very ‘virtual’ look. You can configure the screens a variety of ways, all of them very tech-forward and futuristic, layering your speedometer over the map view, for instance. The only downside is that when you get into another car you’ll feel as if you went back in time by a decade.
Top Drawer Tech in an Entry-Level Luxury Car? Yup.
The Phone Box and Virtual Cockpit are premium features found in much more expensive Audi models. You consider the Q3 as the opportunity to buy these systems and save $40K over the luxe Q8.
And, it’s a good investment. While Audi has been rolling out these features for a couple of years now, it’s where the industry is going. This car will be state of the art for years.
Other top-drawer additions in the Q3 include standard features such as:
- Standard Quattro all-wheel drive
- Panoramic sunroof
- Roof rails
- Power liftgate
- Multiple drive modes including sport mode and off-road mode
- Leather seats, with heated front seats
- Power driver’s seat
- 4 USB ports
- 8.” MMI (Multi-Media Interface) infotainment touch screen
- Automatic pre-crash sensing
Features that can be added with the Prestige package or by upgrading to a higher trim include:
- Proximity Key with push-button start
- Power front passenger seat
- 12.3” MMI (Multi-Media Interface) infotainment touch screen
- Surround-view camera
- Audi Phone Box
- Park system plus, which self-parks the car (it steers while you control acceleration and braking)
Audi Q3: Everything You Want in an SUV, and Perfect for the City
I’m an SUV girl at heart: I love the higher ground clearance, the all-wheel-drive capability, the easy-to-get-in-and-out seat height and the flexible space so I can bring my people, my things and my puppy along for the ride.
I also want luxury— leather heated seats, a panoramic sunroof, a quiet cabin — and performance when I want it.
The Audi Q3 delivers all this in a 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo engine with 228 horsepower and 258 torque. Recently redesigned and upgraded, the Q3 has all the top luxuries you want in an SUV and is a great option for downsizing from your mom car or for your first luxury SUV (or, both). It’s small and agile, perfect for driving around town, heading downtown and parking on the street or in a tight parking garage. It’s such a liberating feeling.
And, with the Phone Box, you can liberate yourself even more: Leave the phone charger cord plugged in at home. You won’t need it in the car.
What We Listened to in the Audi Q3
The freedom of an iPhone that automatically connects Apple CarPlay to the car means you can instantly tap the voice command button and ask for your favorite Spotify playlist. This is one of mine, and what I thought sounded great in the Audi Q3.
Disclosure: Audi provided the Q3 for this test drive; all opinions are my own.