Hasty and haughty, much as it was before. Its finest attribute, by some distance, is still the vigorous five-pot motor.
The character of Audi’s modern inline five - an angry, gargling top end toughness - is unchanged but for the extra shove that now comes with it. That alone would be sufficient for a thumbs up, but it’s the flexibility of the unit which impresses over a longer drive.
Combined with an easily modulated throttle and sharpened gearbox, the 2.5-litre lump’s potency gives it a natural and very fluid usability.
Peak torque may only have a risen by 22lb ft, but there’s still 332lb ft of it from 1600rpm, and even with the gearbox left in its default auto mode, the Q3 tends to respond more crisply than its sluggish AMG equivalent.
Switch to the paddles, and it’s leagues ahead - any lack of tactility made up for by the speed of the shifts. This means that no matter whether you’re crawling forward in traffic or manually hitting the limiter on an autobahn, the charm offensive remains constant.
If only the car around it had such consistent appeal. Unfortunately, the peaks and troughs of its likability are scaled and slipped into repeatedly. For a start, the steering, numb before, may just be worse.
Unlike its RS siblings, there’s no picking and choosing individual components’ state of tune on the Drive Select system, which means you’re stuck with Comfort or Dynamic. That means you’re lumbered with either expressionless and over-assisted steering alongside just-about acceptable damper responses, or a senseless, rigid level of resistance paired with the all-too familiar pattery RS jiggle.
Of course, that doesn’t prevent the Q3 doing things that no crossover ought to be able to, but the car’s impressive composure at speed is rendered aloof by the shortfall in communication between you and the controls.
Ultimately, the absence of that kind of nuance hasn’t proven an impediment to Quattro GmbH’s customers before, although those well acquainted with other model’s in the lineup will spot the outdatedness of the switchgear.
Because it doesn’t share in the latest MQB kit bonanza, many of the controls - not least the infotainment selector which must be groped at on the dash rather than twiddled more comfortably from the centre console - make the car feel more last generation than it should. Which is a shame, because otherwise the well-finished and appropriately roomy interior lives up to its manufacturer’s usual high standards for fit and finish.