Audi Q3 is bigger and better in every department with 1.5-litre turbo engine, virtual cockpit and sporty ride

“WOW, it looks really big,” my wife said to me the other day.

Sadly, that is the only time I can remember her saying it. And she wasn’t looking at me.

She was considering the girth of the new Audi Q3 that had just been sardined into a parking space outside my house.

Huddling in the frost-bitten February air — which seems to have a shrinking quality all of its own — I had to agree.

The car seems much bigger and more imposing than I remember.

It is no longer the weedy little brother of the Q5 and Q7.

The Q3 is a robust, chunky SUV in its own right, big enough to bully others in the segment and no longer apologetic for its diminutive stature shouldered against the rest of the range.

I had to look it up — but sure enough, the 2019 Q3 has grown by a good 10cm from the outside.

Inside it seems larger still, with a nifty remapping of cabin space and some smart feng shui at play.

The stats continue to tell the story here. The boot is 530 litres — 110 more than the 2012 original.

This is a Q3 I could see myself driving every day. Finally.

Until now, it was just another crossover, a hatchback with glamour muscles. And you probably know my thoughts on crossovers.

In terms of design, Audi has not strayed far from the blueprint.

Unmistakably an Audi SUV, you have to check the badge on the back to make sure it’s not the Q5.

There are more angles because  . . . well, angles seem to be the in thing.

A bigger grille boldly shows off the four rings so many people want parked on their drive.

And the wheel arches bulge, as Audi continues to obsessively pay tribute to the original Quattro through everything it does.

A couple of new colour options complete the external updates.

The best words to describe the interior are “roomy” and “expensive”.

Audi never denies its customers costly soft furnishings and top-line switchgear.

It is leather and suede all the way — and the entire Q3 range is now fitted with Audi’s virtual cockpit.

You make commands via an expansive touchscreen worthy of anything Apple or Samsung could come up with.

But there is still a smattering of tactile buttons to control basics such as drive mode, so technophobes needn’t fear getting lost in complex computer software.

The engine range begins with a 1.5-litre petrol knocking out 148bhp. That doesn’t come with Quattro.

Next up is the Quattro 2-litre ­petrol, good for 187bhp. Top of the range — for now — is a 227bhp 2-litre lump. Diesels to follow.

It is fine to drive. Of course it is — this is an Audi.

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