Where is the world’s best mid-size luxury SUV made? Audi can make a good argument for Bratislava, Slovakia, where its recently redesigned Q7 SUV flagship has been assembled since inception in November…

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik Road Test

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
No S Line Sport package this year, but we think this top-line Technik-trimmed 2018 Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro looks great just the same. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Where is the world’s best mid-size luxury SUV made? Audi can make a good argument for Bratislava, Slovakia, where its recently redesigned Q7 SUV flagship has been assembled since inception in November of 2005, when the 2006 first-generation model arrived on the scene and almost immediately became the darling of the seven-passenger luxury crossover SUV market. 

Astute readers will correct me by stating the Q7 is also produced in Kaluga, Russia and Aurangabad, India, but the one we get hails from the quaint Slovakian capital that flanks the Danube River, its fertile banks surrounded in vineyards, the entire area nestled within the Little Carpathian mountains, a picturesque part of Europe that rivals its Austrian and Hungarian neighbours for good beer and good times. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The more angular new Q7 looks fresh and modern from front to back. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

This said the only Audi vehicles I’ve ever driven through Europe were on Austrian and German roads, and never once in a Q7. My four-ringed adventure began in the Alps near Salzburg aboard a bevy of TT Coupes, followed up by the premium brand’s A8L flagship sedan powered by a ridiculously potent turbo-diesel V8 on the autobahn between the Red Bull capital (and of course childhood home to Mozart—I walked past Hagenauerhaus on my way to dinner while visiting on a separate occasion with Maserati) and Audi HQ in Ingolstadt in Ingolstadt. How I would love to drive this new Q7 over the same routes, or for that matter any of the other circuitous European roadways I’ve grown to appreciate from many visits across the Atlantic since youth (back then we had a VW 411 “Squareback”, not exactly in the same league). 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
This sharp new take on Audi’s “Singleframe” grille has spread across the brand’s entire SUV lineup. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The first-generation Q7 aged gracefully, having managed to maintain its popularity despite few updates during its decade-long run, which is a nod to the original SUV’s good inherent design both aesthetically and mechanically. This second-generation version, which arrived in 2016 for the 2017 model year, rides on a new lighter weight chassis architecture that’s allowed for a significant 300-kilo (660-lb) reduction in mass, while this in turn has resulted in the first-ever application of a fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder in the large albeit still mid-size three-row SUV. 

I drove and reported on the 2.0 TFSI equipped Q7 last year and not only found it wholly adequate, but in fact its 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque felt downright spirited thanks in part to the standard eight-speed automatic and efficient Quattro all-wheel drive system it comes mated to, but for those that make their German engineering choice with an eye on performance first and foremost, I recommend the V6. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Technik trim gets standard full LED headlamps, that add nighttime brightness as well as daytime sophistication. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The 2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro shown on this page felt much the same as a V6-powered model I also tested and reviewed last year, although this variation on the theme didn’t include an upgrade to the $1,800 S Line Sport package, which is really more about cosmetics than performance anyway, due to no sport suspension improvements and identically sized albeit uniquely designed 20-inch alloys on 285/45 all-season tires, restyled front and rear bumpers, an enlarged rear rooftop spoiler, S line fender badges and door sill embellishment on the metal treadplates, and a black headliner inside. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The Technik’s standard 10-spoke 20-inch alloys combine elegance with ample sportiness. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

With its visual focus more about luxury than sport, my Q7 loaner still looked suitably planted with its 20-inch 10-spoke Star design alloys, while its two-slat corner vents are hardly less aggressive than the trio of glossy black slats and deeper brake vents provided in S Line trim. 

As you might expect, the 2018 Q7 is mostly carryover from last year, this only being the second-gen model’s second year of availability, so therefore the only change this year is the addition of standard Audi side assist blindspot warning and Audi pre-sense rear advanced driver assistance systems to mid-range Progressiv trim, the latter feature using a rear-facing camera to detect and warn of potential rear-end collisions, at which point it mitigates possible injuries by automatically adjusting the seats, tightening the seatbelts, plus closing the windows and sunroof. Additionally, as-tested top-line Technik trim now gets the Audi Connect smartphone interface, concierge service, and security features as standard equipment. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Of course the taillights are LEDs, and these look even better when lit up at night. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

While we’re talking trims, according to CarCostCanada.com that has full pricing by trim level, the dealer’s invoice pricing (wouldn’t it be helpful to know that?), and info on available rebates, the Q7 is once again available in three grades including $61,900 Komfort, $67,650 Progressiv and $74,750 Technik. Quattro AWD is standard, while the aforementioned 2.0-litre turbo-four is standard in Komfort and Progressiv trims, while not available with Technik. The 3.0-litre supercharged V6 is a $4,000 option in either base or mid-range trim, with the result of this choice being 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque for considerably stronger straight-line performance, its zero to 100km/h sprint time improved by 1.7 seconds from 7.4 to 5.7 seconds, plus almost no downside in fuel economy as per Transport Canada’s official claimed rating of 12.6 L/100km city, 9.4 highway and 11.1 combined for the V6 and 12.2, 9.5 and 11.0 respectively for the I-4. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The Q7 opens up to one of the best interiors in the mid-size SUV sector. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Yes, I know this seems strange, so I found my second witness in the U.S. EPA that shows identical ratings of 19 mpg city, 25 highway and 21 combined no matter the engine tested, which in case you were wondering come very close to our government’s estimates at 12.4 L/100km city, 9.4 highway and 11.2 combined when converted to metric. So there you have it, the 2.0 TFSI is more about reducing the Q7’s initial price than ongoing costs. 

Additionally, with the optional tow package added to both four- and six-cylinder powered Q7s, the latter increases its trailering capacity by more than 1,500 kilos (3,300 lbs) over the former, from 1,995 kilograms (4,400 lbs) to a surprisingly capable 3,500 kg (7,700 lbs). 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Everything is well made, smartly organized and within reach. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

No matter which engine you choose, Komfort trim includes standard self-leveling Xenon plus headlights with washers, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated power-folding side mirrors, stainless steel door sills, pushbutton ignition, a heatable leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, an electromechanical parking brake, rain-sensing wipers, Audi Drive Select performance modes, a HomeLink garage door opener, a cooled glove box, heatable eight-way powered front seats with four-way powered driver’s lumbar support, driver-side memory for the seat and side mirrors, leather upholstery, genuine oak hardwood, piano black lacquer and real aluminum interior trim, tri-zone automatic climate control, a large infotainment display that powers up from within the dash top, HD and satellite radio, a powered panoramic glass sunroof with an electric sunshade, a powered liftgate, a retractable cargo cover, 50/50-split power-folding third-row seatbacks, front and rear parking sensors, engine stop-start, regenerative braking, and Audi’s pre-sense basic driver assistance system that detects when an emergency manoeuvre is being made and then initiates all of the crash preventative measures noted earlier about pre-sense rear. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The Audi Virtual Cockpit lets you go from a fairly normal looking gauge cluster… (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My Technik tester included all of the above, plus everything from mid-range Progressiv trim such as its proximity-sensing keyless access, auto-dimming centre and side mirrors, blindspot warning, power-adjustable steering column, Audi Virtual Cockpit fully digital 12.3-inch TFT gauge cluster, 360-degree Topview surround parking camera, aforementioned smartphone integration, navigation, additional rear zone for the climate control system, four-way powered front passenger lumbar, ventilated front seats, heatable rear outboard seats, stainless steel trunk sill protection, virtual pedal proximity-sensing trunk release, and more. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
….to a all the graphic info you could ever need, by the simple touch of a steering wheel-mounted “VIEW” button. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, exclusive Technik features include full LED headlamps for much brighter nighttime drives, a larger set of 20-inch alloys on 285/45 all-season run-flats for better grip, a sensational sounding 3D Surround Sound Bose audio system with 19 speakers and 558 watts of power, Audi connect assistance and security services, and more. 

Of course, some of the features that come standard with Technik trim can be had in option packages and as standalone upgrades within each trim level, while my tester was also enhanced further with a $150 set of second-row side window sunshades, which are ideal if you have sun-sensitive passengers in back. I’d find it difficult to believe many Q7s are ordered without the $900 Driver Assistance Package too, which includes auto high beam assist, a camera and distance sensor, Audi active lane assist, and traffic sign recognition. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
This 8.3-inch display powers up from within the dash top, and provides crystal clear clarity and excellent depth of colour. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

If this were to become my personal ride I’d be even more tempted to add the $3,400 Driver Assistance Plus package due to its adaptive cruise control with stop and go alone, while this suite of advanced safety features includes a head-up display projecting key info onto the windscreen ahead of the driver, Audi pre sense plus, Audi pre sense city front collision warning with autonomous braking, and traffic jam assist, a semi-autonomous steering feature that does the driving for you while stuck on well-paved congested roadways at speeds from 0 to 65 km/h. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Both standard three-zone and as-tested four-zone auto climate control systems can be easily adjusted from this attractive interface. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My tester’s standard Diamond finish upper inlay with Silver Grey and Oak Grey lower inlays, can be replaced by three $500 alternatives that all include Brushed Aluminum for the upper inlay with either Oak Grey, Beaufort Walnut, or Walnut and Terra Brown for the lower inlay, while the already excellent Bose audio system can be traded in for an even more impressive $5,100 Bang & Olufsen system with tweeters that power up out of the dash and many other advanced audio technologies. 

Additionally, a $2,500 Night vision assistant uses a thermal imaging camera to scan 15 to 90 metres ahead for pedestrians and large animal heat signatures and then projects them onto the multi-information display in the gauge cluster, while other options include massaging front seats, a dual screen rear seat entertainment system, rear side-impact airbags, a bevy of wheels and tires and more, plus dealer installed accessories galore. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Thanks to electronic transmissions, gear “levers” have changed in recent years, which is why we like Audi’s mostly normal one a lot. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Naming off options and standard equipment might help put the Q7’s value proposition into a better light, but it hardly relates the experience of actually spending time inside. It remains one of the best interiors in its class thanks to Audi’s pleasing horizontal design mixed with fine attention to detail. The quality of workmanship and materials chosen are difficult to match in this class, and the overall layout, ease of use, and general comfort comes close to perfection. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The Q7 gets a rotating knob, touchpad and surrounding buttons for controlling its infotainment system. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Q7 may excel even further above most peers in driving dynamics, by somehow balancing a gentle ride with superb handling. I’m always amazed at how small the Q7 feels when at the wheel, as if it’s outwardly sized a category down from its true three-row mid-size dimensions, but numbers don’t lie and your rear passengers won’t complain about being cramped, although it’s so much fun to drive that backseat drivers may ask you to slow down. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Comfort and support are Audi driver seat hallmarks, and the Q7’s are no exception. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Q7’s speed-sensing electric power-assist steering feels just right and responds to input quickly and accurately, while the SUV’s fully independent double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension system absorbs all the nasty road imperfections yet still manages to stay glued to the road even when pushed much harder than you might think possible. Audi may have found the ideal compromise between sport and comfort, as I never felt like I was giving up either. Added to this is Quattro AWD for all-season confidence, a system that has saved me from snow covered ski hill parking lots and launched me out of even deeper snow banks plenty of times, and would no doubt be just as capable of dealing with muddy cottage backroads, etcetera. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
This massive powered panoramic sunroof is standard across the Q7 line. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

And that from an SUV that can gobble up seven occupants and much of their cargo, the area behind the rearmost seats good for 420 litres (14.8 cubic feet) of what-have-you according to the U.S. EPA, which is about as much as a generously sized sedan’s trunk, while if you fold those rear seats flat via the aforementioned power controls you’ll end up with 1,062 litres (37.5 cubic feet) behind the second row, or go a step further and you’ll have a cavernous 2,027 litres (71.6 cubic feet) of available space, and more so a completely flat load floor. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Second-row roominess and comfort are hard to criticize. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Even better, Audi was really inventive with its second row seats, as they’re not split in the usual 60/40 configuration, and not even sectioned into a 40/20/40 division that allows a narrow pass-through down the middle for skis and other long cargo, but they’re almost evenly divided at 35/30/35 for a much larger centre pass-through and a more comfortable middle seating position. 

Power releases pop the second-row seats forward for easy access to the third row, and while I wouldn’t want to spend an entire day back there I was able to buckle in my five-foot-eight frame without discomfort. This still left plenty of legroom for second-row passengers, which certainly won’t be able to complain about spaciousness in all other directions either, or comfort. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The third row provides enough space for two medium-sized adults on short journeys. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Is the Q7 the best mid-size luxury SUV available today like I inferred at the beginning of this review? My answer would depend on your personal priorities, such as performance over luxuriant pampering, how you prefer controlling infotainment functions, from a simple, straightforward touchscreen or via a rotating knob, touchpad (for pinch, swipe and finger gesture capability) and surrounding buttons on the lower console as Audi provides. The system is excellent and incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, accurate navigation, superb backup and overhead cameras, plus its depth of colour, resolution and overall speed of operation can’t be faulted. 

2018 Audi Q7 3.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
This large, flat loading area makes the Q7 ideal for active families. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Added to this, the Audi Virtual Cockpit is by far best of the best when it comes to digital gauge clusters. I love how the “VIEW” button on the left steering wheel spoke expands the multi-info display to epic proportions, leaving smaller digital dials for speed and tachometer readings. This allows the navigation mapping and route guidance info to almost completely take over the display, or one of many other functions within the system. 

Yes, it’s difficult not to love the Audi Q7, which is why there are so many on Canadian roads. It would be unwise to buy into this category without experiencing a Q7 first hand, as it’s easily one of the best on offer.

In a market that’s constantly talking big about SUVs and simultaneously downplaying the popularity of traditional sedans, the Audi A3 has steadily made year over year gains. In fact, the recently revised…

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv Road Test

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
Audi’s A3 was refreshed for 2017, therefore this A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro remains unchanged for 2018. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

In a market that’s constantly talking big about SUVs and simultaneously downplaying the popularity of traditional sedans, the Audi A3 has steadily made year over year gains. In fact, the recently revised model’s Canadian sales grew 5.3 percent from the close of 2016 to December 31, 2017, while deliveries are up an impressive 63 percent since 2014, the first full year that four-door sedan and convertible body styles were added to the mix and the conventionally powered first-generation five-door wagon/hatchback Sportback was dropped. 

To be clear, along with the A3 Sedan and A3 Cabriolet, Audi once again sells an A3 Sportback, albeit now dubbed A3 Sportback e-tron due to only being available in plug-in hybrid guise, while the A3 Sedan is also available with sportier S3 and RS 3 upgrades. Being that I haven’t driven any of these alternative versions in 2018 guise I’ll keep this review focused solely on the A3 Sedan, which once again found its way into my hands in mid-grade 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv trim. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
Audi cleaned up the new A3 Sedan’s details front to back. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Back to sales and the SUV phenomenon, the A3 was the only car in its subcompact luxury class to achieve positive growth last year, actually managing to pass right by the Mercedes-Benz CLA on its way to segment bestseller status. While this is great news for Audi, the surprising flip side to this scenario is a Q3 subcompact luxury SUV that’s losing ground to its competitors, with calendar year 2017 sales that were off by 3.5 percent in a Canadian new vehicle market that was up overall. Audi will want to remedy its entry-level SUV situation quickly. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The A3’s grille is larger and more angled, while its lower fascia gets some nicely chiseled detailing. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The A3 Sedan needs no such drastic attention, especially after receiving a significant mid-cycle upgrade for the 2017 model year. It therefore continues into 2018 unchanged, with its “horseshoe” grille still slightly larger and more angled than the one it replaced, the now standard HID headlamps slimmer with more sharply scalloped lower edges than the more conservative outgoing lenses, and its standard LED taillights still dazzling when lit up at night, while the refreshed A3 Sedan’s sharply detailed lower front and rear fascias continue forward unchanged as well. 

Last year’s redesigned standard and optional alloy wheels needed no fix either, my tester’s being a stunning set of machine-finished twinned five-spoke 18-inch alloys that looked as if they’d been upgraded to S Line sport trim, but such wasn’t the case at all. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The headlamps get a more angular design as well as optional full LED lighting. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Really, despite standing out like a fully dressed premium four-door, my 2018 A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv tester was simply Audi’s least expensive model in its standard mid-range trim, nothing special. Or at least it was nothing special for an Audi. The German brand’s bold, sporty styling has helped sales steadily grow year over year since 2005, even making gains through the great recession. Specifically, Canadian Audi sales grew 17.9 percent last year, making 2017 the luxury brand’s strongest growth since 2014 that saw its sales expand by 19.5 percent over the previous year’s sales record. Other standout years include 2010 with a 26.7 percent increase over 2009, while even 2008, right smack dab in the middle of the financial crisis, saw Audi sell 22 percent more vehicles than 2007. That 10-year period witnessed Audi Canada sales grow by more than 288 percent, all because of making smart decisions like the A3 Sedan. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The A3 Sedan now looks as upscale as any other Audi model. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The four-ringed brand’s winning formula has long included some of the most appealing cabins in the industry, and the new A3 Sedan only improves on the outgoing model. It’s all about tastefully applied high quality materials—an ample supply of real aluminum trim always part of the package. 

The fully configurable Audi Virtual Cockpit 12.3-inch TFT primary instrument package was added to top-line Technik trim as part of last year’s update, while the car maintained its already well-received MMI infotainment system that continues to power up out of the dash-top to the oohs and ahs of passengers, so Audi is ahead of its rivals in one instance and about mid-pack with the other. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The Progressiv trim’s 18-inch alloy wheel upgrade makes a big visual difference. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Why just a middling classification for A3 infotainment? The 7.0-inch display’s diameter probably makes it a bit small in today’s bigger is better tablet-infused world, although it was certainly large enough for my requirements, and despite providing bright, beautiful colours, deep and rich contrast, crystal clarity and stimulating graphics, its lack of touch-capacitive control keeps it from earning top marks. Then again, the screen earns big points for its disappearing act, or rather the ability to eliminate its own distracting presence during night drives by hiding away in the same nook that brings it to life on startup. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The new LED taillights can be upgraded with dynamic sequential turn signals. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Audi recently upgraded the MMI Radio’s operating system to accept Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, but being that I use an Android-based phone and don’t like the latter system I found the standard interface more pleasing to look at and plenty easy to navigate through, and I’m not just talking about route guidance. Yes, Audi included its $1,950 Navigation package in my $36,100 Progressive trimmed test car, which added MMI Navigation plus to the centre display, as well as MMI Touch to the lower console, and a colour multi-information display (replacing a rather rudimentary looking monochromatic unit) to the otherwise analogue primary gauge cluster. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
All Audi A3 Sedans provide a high-quality premium interior. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I should be clear that my Progressive trimmed A3 Sedan tester was actually upgraded with Quattro all-wheel drive, so the starting price was pushed up to $40,900 before freight and fees, and I should also let you know that all manufacturer recommended prices are easy to find and perfectly accurate at CarCostCanada.com, the one-stop-shop that allows me to quickly source pricing, features, cost/markup info, available rebate details and more. Here you can see the base 2018 A3 Sedan Komfort starts at just $32,800, while the top-tier Technik hits the road at $45,300. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The A3 Sedan’s cockpit is great looking and set up with ideal ergonomics. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The $4,800 difference from front-drive to the all-wheel Quattro drivetrain includes more than just rear-wheel motivation, by the way, the upgrade also featuring 34 more horsepower from 186 to 220 ponies, 37 additional lb-ft of torque from 221 to 258 foot pounds, and one less forward gear, from the FWD car’s brilliant seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic automated gearbox to the slightly less flashy yet still very good six-speed S tronic automatic transmission. 

Efficiency fans may also chagrin at the Quattro-equipped car’s lack of idle start/stop that helps to reduce the base model’s claimed fuel economy to just 9.1 L/100km in the city, 6.8 on the highway and 8.0 combined to a less miserly yet still thrifty 9.7, 7.5 and 8.7 respectively, but frowns turn to a smiles when factoring in the more formidable model’s 0.8-second gain from standstill to 100km/h, the FWD model performing the feat in a respectable 7.0 seconds compared to the Quattro’s much more entertaining 6.2 seconds. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The primary gauge package gets upgraded with a colour multi-information display in Progressiv trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Both A3 trims benefit from highly responsive speed-sensitive rack and pinion steering and a wonderfully nimble fully independent chassis, the latter consisting of MacPherson struts with lower wishbones up front and a four-link suspension with separate springs and dampers in back, the setup combining for easy manageability and a nice comfortable ride through town, superb manoeuvrability on fast-paced windy back roads, and total stability at highway speeds up to 209 km/h (130 mph), but take note the Quattro system’s rear-drive mechanicals eat up trunk space, reducing available cargo capacity by 62 litres (2.2 cubic feet) to just 284 litres (10.0 cubic feet). 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
A 7.0-inch infotainment display powers up from within the dash-top at startup. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

At least Audi finishes the A3 Sedan’s trunk off nicely with a carpeted floor, sidewalls and under-lid, plus chromed tie-down rings at each corner, while it provides 60/40-split rear seatbacks to expand on its usefulness, with a handy centre pass-through for placing longer cargo like skis down the middle so that a duo of rear passengers can enjoy the more comfortable window seats. Also notable, the rear seat folding mechanisms feel much better made than average, while along with a spare tire Audi has organized some small cubbies below the cargo floor for stowing items like work gloves and rags, or possibly a little tool kit. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The navigation and backup camera systems are optional, odd this day and age. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I should point out the A3 Sedan’s rear seating area is fairly roomy for this subcompact luxury class, with my five-foot-eight medium-build frame still a healthy six inches from rubbing knees against the backside of the driver’s seat after setting up the latter for my near-average height, plus there was still plenty of room for my feet while wearing clunky leather boots. The A3 also provided more than a few inches of air space next to my hips and shoulders, but rear headroom was somewhat compromised with only an inch or so above my crown, and it should be noted that my torso is shorter than average for my height, so therefore someone five-foot-ten with a normally proportioned body would probably find the A3 Sedan a bit cramped in back. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
A3 switchgear is high in quality, with nice aluminum detailing throughout the cabin. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, other than the need to move around the cabin to take notes I spent the majority of my time in the A3 Sedan’s driver seat, which proved easy to set up thanks to exceptionally good ergonomics, and was therefore wonderfully comfortable and ideally positioned for optimal control. Backing out of my parking spot I immediately appreciated the dynamic guideline-assisted rearview camera system that relegates a third of the MMI display to active overhead graphics, which highlighted my car’s proximity to surrounding objects via colours that corresponded with the front and rear parking sensor’s audible beeps, hazard orange changing to bright red when coming dangerously close to scratching the A3’s lovely paintwork. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The A3 shifter and infotainment controllers are beautifully finished. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My tester was finished in Ibis White, one of two standard colours that also include Brilliant Black, while Audi offers an octet of $800 metallic enhancements, with Cosmos Blue Metallic being the most interesting—the rest are white, silver and grey shades, plus vibrant Tango Red Metallic. 

Now that I’m talking features, on top of everything already mentioned, base Komfort trim includes 17-inch alloys, auto on/off headlights, aluminum doorsills, an electromechanical parking brake, leather upholstery, a powered driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar, heatable front seats, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone auto climate control, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, 7.0-inch MMI infotainment, 180-watt 10-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with an aux plug, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity (without audio streaming!), a large glass sunroof, an alarm, and more. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The 12-way powered driver’s seat is extremely comfortable. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

On the safety front the A3 gets the expected ABS-enhanced four-wheel disc brakes with EBD and BA, plus traction and stability control, Pre-sense Basic crash response, and six airbags, which is good enough for five stars from the NHTSA in standard trim and Top Safety Pick status from the IIHS when its $1,050 LED Lighting package is added. Within the A3’s subcompact luxury class only BMW’s 2 Series achieves the latter IIHS rating, and being a two-door coupe or convertible it doesn’t directly compete. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
Audi calls it a panoramic sunroof, and while it doesn’t cover most of the roof it’s still plenty large. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Upgrading to Progressiv trim provides Audi Drive Select with Comfort, Auto, Dynamic (sport) and Individual modes, the aforementioned 18-inch alloys, brighter high-gloss window surrounds, unique Mistral aluminum interior inlays, more aluminum trim, LED ambient cabin lighting, a powered front passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated compass (that should really be standard in this class), Audi’s MMI music interface featuring Bluetooth audio streaming (ditto standard equipment), one more SD card reader slot, an extra USB charging port, the rearview camera with active guidelines mentioned earlier (I still can’t believe it’s not standard), and more. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
Excepting headroom, rear seat spaciousness is good for the class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I should point out the A3 Sedan’s aluminum cabin trim is exquisitely finished, especially around the shifter and MMI controls, the latter including a large rotating dial surrounded by aluminized buttons. The circular controller provides a matte black surface on top capable of finger gestures in lieu of the tablet-style touchscreen missing from the dash, which means that any tap, pinch and swipe functions need to be performed on this small surface. 

Options include a Premium package at $1,700 with the base car or $1,100 when added to Progressiv trim, the price difference due to only adding proximity keyless access with pushbutton ignition plus fore and aft parking sensors with the upgraded trim, being that the bright window surrounds and powered front seats are already standard. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
The A3 Sedan’s trunk is on the smaller side, but it’s nicely finished. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I’ve already noted the LED headlight upgrade and Navigation package, which means that only the $1,800 S line sport package remains, a worthwhile addition that features unique exterior styling, a separate set of 18-inch alloys, a sport suspension, S line doorsills, brushed aluminum interior trim, a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddles, sport seats, and a black headliner. 

I’d be tempted to go for the S Line sport package if this were my personal ride, and it would be difficult not to spend a little more to move up to Technik trim as well, which makes everything mentioned (other than the S Line package) standard, including the LED headlights and navigation, plus adds auto cornering headlight capability, special dynamic taillights, a heatable steering wheel, the aforementioned Virtual Cockpit, a brilliant sounding Bang & Olufsen audio system, Audi side assist to warn from approaching rear traffic, and more. 

2018 Audi A3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Progressiv
A 60/40-split rear seatback is further improved with a centre pass-through. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Additionally, only Technik trim lets you add a $1,400 Technology package with Audi pre-sense front, Active Lane Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, plus High Beam Assist, the latter two well worth the price of admission for convenience sake, and the first two capable of saving life and limb. 

With pricing between $33k and $50k, plus features to justify any extra expense, it’s no wonder the A3 Sedan remains so popular. It delivers exactly what budget-oriented premium sport sedan buyers want, and looks fabulous no matter the trim. I expect Audi will remedy some of the base car’s shortcomings by making some optional items standard, but keep in mind that it’s priced well and includes leather, auto HVAC, a sunroof, etcetera in its most basic package, so splurge for Progressiv trim if an auto-dimming mirror, backup camera, and Bluetooth streaming are must-haves. Either way you’ll be well served in a 2018 Audi A3 Sedan.

At first glance the move up from Audi’s A3 to A4 might not appear like a very big step, but don’t let the larger cars’ stylistic similarity trick you into thinking there’s little difference between…

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik Road Test

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Audi’s A4 was updated last year and looks just as dazzling for 2018, seen here in top-tier Technik trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

At first glance the move up from Audi’s A3 to A4 might not appear like a very big step, but don’t let the larger cars’ stylistic similarity trick you into thinking there’s little difference between the two.

While the A3 is exceptionally well finished for its more compact luxury class, plus plenty sporty and nicely featured, the move up to the D-segment-sized A4 brings with it an entirely new level of spaciousness, luxury and performance.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Clean, understated and classy, the A4 has won over a large, dedicated following of luxury buyers. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

For starters the 2018 A4 provides more interior space for driver and passengers, thanks to more front to rear legroom, greater width for shoulders, elbows and hips, and considerably more headroom, especially in back. With the driver’s seat positioned for my five-foot-eight frame I found more than six inches in front of my knees when seated behind, plus plenty of space for my feet, and about four inches remaining above my head. That means taller folk measuring six-foot-two and above should have no problem fitting comfortably in back.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The A4’s singleframe grille was made more angular for 2017. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Likewise, the A4 Quattro’s trunk is 90 litres larger than the A3’s at 480 litres, which is sizeable for its class and made even more accommodating via ultra-convenient 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks. If you need yet more cargo capacity, the base front-wheel drive A4 allows for 490 litres of gear-toting space. The trunk is finished nicely too, with high quality carpeting up the sidewalls and on the seatbacks, plus chromed tie-down hooks at each corner.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
LED headlights enhance safety and style. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, you’ll find much more luxury and refinement inside the cabin, with expected D-segment upgrades including fabric wrappings for all roof pillars and soft-touch synthetics across the entire dash top and instrument panel, while unlike the smaller A3 both front and rear door panels receive high-grade pliable padded finishings from their topmost uppers to their lowest extremities.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
These optional 19-inch alloys are stunning. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

That’s about it for plush plastics however, with the lower dash, glove box lid, and sides of the lower console disappointingly made from high quality textured harder composites. I can’t say this is par for the course as some others do this better, but Audi more than makes up for this slight shortcoming when it comes to digital interfaces and switchgear.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The A4’s dynamic LED taillights illuminate sequentially to indicate the direction of your turn. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My top-line Technik tester meant that the Audi Virtual Cockpit came standard, an otherwise optional feature that’ll be sure to put a smile on any car enthusiast or tech zealot’s face. It’s a driver configurable TFT instrument cluster that provides clear resolution, superb graphics, wonderful depth of colour, and plenty of features, one of which simultaneously makes the centre-mounted multi-information display larger and surrounding digital dials smaller by pushing a steering wheel “VIEW” button, thus providing better visibility of key functions like the navigation system’s detailed mapping system. The Virtual Cockpit proves not all TFT gauge packages are created equal, with the A4’s my choice for best in class.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The A4’s interior isn’t perfect, but it comes close. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The 8.3-inch infotainment display atop the dash is excellent too, although there are many more segment challengers for top spot in this category. Audi’s display is the current en vogue fixed tablet style, standing on its own above the centre stack. Unlike most in the class, the MMI system only allows actuation via a console-mounted rotating dial with a gesture sensor on top, plus a set of surrounding buttons, whereas competitors are either adapting to direct touchscreen functions in conjunction with such secondary controls, or dropping the costly dials and buttons altogether.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The flat-bottom S Line steering wheel joins other S Line Sport package upgrades in amping up the A4 cabin. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I can understand why some owners wouldn’t want front passenger’s drive-thru-greased fingerprints mucking up the lovely display, but in reality the vast majority of us are so intrinsically connected to our smartphones and tablets that it’s only a matter of time before the A4’s secondary hardware is relegated to the past.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The Audi Virtual Cockpit makes you think it has maximized the multi-information system’s display area until… (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of note, even Audi has already done so with its new 2018 A8, and after watching some video of that car’s incredible new infotainment system, and living with Volkswagen’s more intuitive new 6.5- and 8.0-inch touchscreens that allow tap, pinch and swipe gesture controls directly on the screen, not to mention finger proximity sensing capability, it’s a change that will certainly be welcomed across the entire Audi lineup. On the positive the current system incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, the former absolutely worth syncing up to and, no fault to Audi, the latter still needing more work.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
…. you see it fully maximized. Just press a “VIEW” button on the steering wheel and the dials get smaller and info larger. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

While I’ve criticized the MMI system’s switchgear for existing at all, I can’t very well dis it from an execution perspective. It’s all top-tier componentry, finished in lovely anodized aluminum and substantive matte composites, much like the A4’s remaining buttons, knobs and toggles that are amongst the industries best. I especially like the artfully designed auto climate control interface, while the metal and leather T-shaped shifter is as much a monument to good industrial design as the beautifully thin spokes of my tester’s S Line Sport package enhanced flat-bottomed steering wheel.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The centre stack is clean, well organized, and filled with features. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

These two driver-machine interfaces connect through to a wonderfully reactive drivetrain and chassis, the A4 amongst the D-segment’s most enjoyable four-door sport sedans thanks to strong yet smooth straight-line performance and superb handling dynamics combined with ample comfort. The numbers for the all-wheel drive Quattro model read 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-litre direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder, which doesn’t make the A4 quickest in its class yet still provides plenty of jump off the line.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The MMI display is filled with functions, but I appreciated the dual-screen parking camera most. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The German carmaker mixes this top-line engine with a six-speed manual or its recently redesigned seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic, which delivers ultra-quick shifts and smooth, linear operation, this latter transmission standard with the base front-wheel drive A4. That entry model makes do with 62 fewer horsepower and 37 less lb-ft of torque resulting in a 7.4-second jog to 100km/h instead of the Quattro model’s 6.0-second sprint, but it’s a smart choice for those wanting a more leisurely, luxury-oriented ride with a focus on fuel economy.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
Infotainment functions are controlled by the MMI dial and surrounding buttons. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The base engine is good for a claimed 8.6 L/100km city, 6.4 highway and 7.6 combined, which is excellent for its class, while the more potent powerplant and six-speed manual combination gets a rating of 9.9 city, 7.1 highway and 8.7 combined, and as-tested auto/AWD combo 10.0, 7.0 and 8.7 respectively.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The T-shaped shift lever is a true piece of industrial art. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Quattro AWD hooks the A4 up nicely at takeoff, even when soggy or snowy weather hampers road conditions, while standard steering wheel paddles add that critical level of engagement that buyers in this class crave. Despite not being the most powerful in its category, the A4 is one of my favourites to drive. It’s deceptively quick, while its compliant suspension defies its accomplished road holding. The A4 might just deliver the best balance of performance and comfort in the entire D-segment, while its well-insulated cabin ensconces driver and passengers in a hushed, calming environment benefiting further from a near industry best 0.23 coefficient of drag, its peaceful quietness only interrupted by the occasional high-revving mechanical note, sporty exhaust blip, or if suited up in Technik trim, superb 755-watt 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D sound quality.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The S Line sport seats are equal parts style and comfortable support. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Technik features not yet mentioned include power-folding side mirrors, a 360-degree Top-View surround camera, ambient lighting with custom colour selection, rear cross-traffic alert, Audi Side Assist that detects approaching vehicles from both sides and behind, Pre Sense Rear pre-collision that warns of potential problems coming from behind, an exit warning system that alerts of traffic or bicycles coming from behind when opening your door, and Audi connect assistance and security services, which is an impressive load of features for just $50,200 with the manual or $51,800 with the auto.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The front lower cushions include thigh extensions for greater comfort and support under the knees. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My test car’s gorgeous set of 19-inch five-spoke V-design titanium-finish alloy rims on grippy 245/35 performance rubber was a clear sign of its $1,700 S Line Sport package, which along with items already mentioned includes a sport suspension with a 23-mm drop in ride height, S Line stainless steel doorsills, stainless steel pedals, unique S line interior trim with brushed aluminum inlays, front sport seats with powered lumbar for the front passenger, and a black headliner, while Audi also added $800 ventilated front seats.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The rear seating area is accommodating, comfortable and impressively finished. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The A4 Technik pulls plenty of other features up from lesser trims, including full LED headlights with auto high beams and automatic leveling, proximity access, a heated steering wheel, auto-dimming side mirrors, driver’s seat and side mirror memory, a universal garage door opener, the larger infotainment display and MMI touch controller, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a foot-activated trunk release and more from $43,500 mid-range Progressiv trim, and S Line exterior styling, fog lights, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, tri-zone auto climate control, satellite radio, leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable heated front seats, four-way powered driver’s seat lumbar, a power moonroof, an aerated glove box, tire pressure monitoring, Audi pre sense basic, Audi drive select, all the usual active and passive safety equipment, and much more from $39,600 base Komfort trim.

2018 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0 TFSI Quattro Technik
The big trunk has 40/20/40-split seatbacks for stowing longer cargo like skis between two more comfortable rear passengers. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Safety in mind, Audi offers a $2,100 Advanced Driver Assistance package featuring adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, active lane assist, Audi’s pre sense front and pre sense city automated braking systems, traffic congestion assist and traffic sign recognition, all of which qualify it for an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating, while the NHTSA gave all A4 trims a best-possible 5-star safety rating, and further noted it has zero recalls, zero investigations, and zero complaints.

Zero complaints: Yes, that’s how I’d sum up my test of this 2018 A4 Quattro too. Perfect? Not quite, but it’s easily one of the nicest sport-luxury sedans on the compact luxury market.

Audi and Subaru have been named best Mainstream Brand and best Premium Brand respectively in ALG’s 2018 Canadian Residual Value Awards (RVA), an important benchmark used for forecasting future vehicle…

Audi and Subaru earn top honours in 2018 ALG Canadian Residual Value Awards

2018 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza achieved best residual value in its “Compact” class. (Photo: Subaru)

Audi and Subaru have been named best Mainstream Brand and best Premium Brand respectively in ALG’s 2018 Canadian Residual Value Awards (RVA), an important benchmark used for forecasting future vehicle values by auto industry professions.

Now in its 10th year, ALG’s RVA projects future values of new models from 26 separate market segments, ranging from “Alt-fuel” to “Fullsize Commercial Van” and everything in between. There are many ways to measure value, although within the car industry the difference between the initial price paid for a new vehicle and its resale value after three or four years is a key parameter. ALG uses the average ownership duration of four years to determine mainstream volume brand values and three years for premium brands, with the results showing both Subaru and Audi are tops in their respective sectors.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek
The Crosstrek earned best resale value in the “Subcompact Utility” category. (Photo: Subaru)

“Depreciation is the single biggest cost of vehicle ownership, and informed consumers understand the importance of resale value when making their purchase decision,” said Eric Lyman, vice president of ALG. “The ALG Residual Value Award is a meaningful achievement in the hyper-competitive automotive landscape. Residual values are a key indicator for the market success of a vehicle, factoring in quality, product execution and brand desirability as primary drivers of ALG’s forecast.”

This is Subaru’s fourth consecutive RVA mainstream brand win, showing an impressive consistency in quality, execution and desirability. This year the brand earned four segment awards, including the Impreza in the “Compact” class, the Crosstrek in the “Subcompact Utility” segment, the Outback in the “Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” segment, and the WRX in the “Sportscar” segment.

2018 Subaru Outback
Subaru’s Outback has the highest residual value in the “Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” segment. (Photo: Subaru)

Other notable mainstream brands include Toyota that dominated SUV and truck segments with five RVAs including the Tundra achieving its eighth consecutive year topping the “Fullsize Pickup” category, the Tacoma at five RVA “Midsize Pickup” class awards in a row, the Highlander winning the “Midsize Utility 3rd Row Seating” segment, the 4Runner in the “Off-Road Utility” class, and the Sequoia earning top marks in the “Fullsize Utility” category. Honda received three RVA segment awards including the Fit in the “Subcompact” class, Accord in the “Midsize” category, and Odyssey in the “Minivan” segment.

Nissan managed two winners including the Rogue in the “Compact Utility” class and Maxima in the “Fullsize” segment, while the only one-off deserving mention is Kia’s Niro in the “Alt-fuel” category.

2018 Audi A5 Coupe
Audi’s A5 has the best residual value amongst “Premium Midsize” models. (Photo: Audi)

Audi, which has experienced a dramatic upsurge in new vehicle sales in recent years, achieved four category wins including the A5 in the “Premium Midsize” class, A7 in the “Premium Fullsize” segment, Q5 in the “Premium Compact Utility” segment, and Q7 in the “Premium Midsize Utility 3rd Row Seating” category.

“Audi has emerged in recent years as a contender in the luxury space against top European rivals, finding success with new product entries in the utility space and emphasizing innovative technologies that have resonated well with luxury consumers,” stated an ALG press release.

2018 Audi Q5
The new Q5 is rated highest for resale value in the “Premium Compact Utility” segment. (Photo: Audi)

Mercedes also took home four awards, albeit with two in the commercial sector. The winners included the Metris in the “Midsize Commercial” segment and the Sprinter in the “Fullsize Commercial” category, while its CLA Class took home top marks amongst “Premium Compact” models, and the G-Class achieved the highest score in the “Premium Fullsize Utility” segment.

No other premium brand earned multiple RVAs, but notable mentioned include the Maserati Quattroporte in the “Premium Executive” class, the Porsche 718 Boxster in the “Premium Sportscar” segment, and the Land Rover Range Rover Velar in the “Premium Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” category.

While sales of some premium brands are more or less flat in Canada, Audi’s Canadian division has been on a charge with growth of 17.9 percent in 2017. Sales increased from 30,544 units in 2016 to 36,007…

Audi Canada achieves 17.9 percent growth for another record year in 2017

2018 Audi Q5
Sales of Audi’s new 2018 Q5 grew by 23.5 percent last year. (Photo: Audi)

While sales of some premium brands are more or less flat in Canada, Audi’s Canadian division has been on a charge with growth of 17.9 percent in 2017.

Sales increased from 30,544 units in 2016 to 36,007 last year, thanks in part to the all-new 2018 Q5 compact SUV that was up 23.5 percent from 8,313 to 10,271 units, once again the most popular in its class by a long shot.

If you think this upswing is all about buyers’ collective preference for SUVs over cars, consider that the redesigned 2018 A5 sports coupe increased its sales by 142.1 percent in 2017, from 1,516 units to 3,671, while the new A4 Sedan and A4 Allroad crossover wagon were up 16.1 percent over the same 12 months, from 6,031 to 7,007 units.

2018 Audi A5 Sportback
Sales of the new 2018 A5 grew by a staggering 142.1 percent in 2017, helped considerably by the entirely new A5 Sportback five-door. (Photo: Audi)

Incidentally, if you add those two D-segment totals together you end up with a sum of 10,678 units, which means the A4/A5 threesome almost matched the mighty Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan and Coupe, which managed just 170 units more for a total of 10,848, while BMW’s combined 3 and 4 Series sales weren’t that much farther ahead with 11,440 deliveries.

2018 Audi S4
Audi’s ever-popular A4 line, which includes the namesake A4, the A4 Allroad and the sportiest S4 (shown), found 16.1 percent more buyers in 2017. (Photo: Audi)

Other than R8 supercar deliveries that spiked by 48.7 percent from 158 to 235 units, most of Audi’s other models grew at a more modest pace, with Q7 sales increasing by 7.6 percent from 4,335 to 4,666 units, A3 deliveries up 5.3 percent from 3,795 to 3,997 units, A6 popularity growing by 4.1 percent from 834 to 868 buyers, and the compact TT sports car finding 3.7 percent more takers from 599 to 621 units, while the only Audi losers were the Q3, which was off by 3.5 percent from 3,860 to 3,724 units, the mid-size A7 Sportback, down by 14.2 percent from 887 to 761, and the full-size A8 flagship sedan dropping 13.9 percent from 216 to 186 units.

2018 Audi Q7
Sales of the new Q7 were so strong in 2016 that last year’s deliveries only grew by 7.6 percent, which is still impressive by most other brands’ standards. (Photo: Audi)

To be fair, Audi sales are only soft for products nearing the ends of their lifecycles, the new 2019 A8 set to arrive this fall, the fully redesigned A7 due to hit our market either later this year or early 2019, and the next-generation Q3 expected sometime in 2019.

Audi’s recent upswing in the Canadian market raises its jurisdictional profile at the brand’s Ingolstadt, Germany headquarters as well, with Canada “establishing itself as a firm fixture among the top ten largest markets,” stated a press release put out by the luxury brand earlier this month. This bodes well for future investment.

2018 Audi R8 V10
Sales of the R8 supercar increased by a stunning 48.7 percent in 2017. (Photo: Audi)

With 1,878,100 vehicles sold globally, Audi saw growth of 0.6 percent through 2017, from 1,867,738 units delivered worldwide the year before. Surprisingly, sales in China were only up 1.1 percent last year, while the Eurozone, which appears to be on the upswing by most economic factors, only grew by 0.4 percent, albeit certain markets were individually strong, with France up by 3.6 percent, Spain by 8.1 percent, and Italy by 10.5 percent.

2019 Audi A8
Sales of the A8 dropped by 13.9 percent last year, but they should pick up when the redesigned 2019 A8 arrives this coming fall. (Photo: Audi)

Last year the U.S. saw an overall vehicle market decline for the first time since 2009, dipping by 2.0 percent to 17.2 million units, but nevertheless Audi’s sales grew by 7.8 percent. This increase was dampened by a 1.8 percent decrease in Mexico and a plunge of 16.5 percent in Brazil, although these two markets, while presenting strong future growth opportunities, are not yet seen as core markets by Audi.

“Despite a very challenging situation we achieved positive growth in all core markets in 2017 and achieved a new record-breaking sales result worldwide,” said Bram Schot, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG. “Every single market contributed to this outcome. This demonstrates the attractiveness of our product portfolio to our customers.”