The Audi Q3 is the latest beneficiary in the Vorsprung durch Technik brand’s drive to cut engine capacities down to an even more efficient size without paring back performance. The compact SUV has just adopted a new, more compact and even more sparing 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine which joins the range alongside an attractive and comprehensive new S line Plus specification option.

The new 1.4 TFSI slots in at the entry point to the Q3 line-up as an alternative to the 140PS 2.0-litre TDI model, and shares its exclusively front-wheel-driven configuration. Available in conjunction with SE and S line trim levels priced from £23,870 OTR, it offers peak power of 150PS, delivered between 5,000 and 6,000rpm, and maximum torque of 250Nm from 1,750 to 3,000rpm. It can channel these through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission.

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Paired with the slick-shifting manual transmission, the Q3 1.4 TFSI will reach 62mph from rest in 9.2 seconds (8.9 seconds for cars equipped with S tronic), and can carry on to a top speed of 126mph. Combined fuel economy stands at 47.9mpg, and CO2 emissions match the efficiency-focused 140PS version of the 2.0 TDI engine elsewhere in the range at 137g/km (145g/km for S tronic models).

This impressive data helps to position the Q3 1.4 TFSI very favourably in company car terms, its 19 per cent BIK figure equating to a tax liability for a 40 per cent taxpayer amounting to £1,800 per annum (first year).

Customers looking further up the Q3 range at quattro-equipped variants can also now choose a new S line Plus specification that slots into the line-up above the S line option and expands on its many benefits both inside and out. Available for all quattro-equipped 2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TDI models, S line Plus specification carries a £2,350 premium over S line trim.

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The new top-ranking specification boosts visual appeal by replacing the 18-inch S line wheel with a 19-inch ‘five segment spoke’ design, and by incorporating privacy glass extending from the B-pillar rearwards. It also includes a choice of seven metallic paint finishes – Ice silver, Samoa orange, Monsoon grey, Caribou brown, Platinum beige, Cobalt blue and Glacier white.

Inside, the standard S line cloth and leather combination upholstery is replaced by a perforated leather and Alcantara mix in S line Plus models, and they also benefit from the addition of cruise control, the Audi parking system plus and SD card-based satellite navigation via the 6.5-inch colour display.

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Already included in the lengthy list of S line equipment that is of course integrated into the new top specification are Xenon Plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, exclusive S line body styling, light and rain sensors, front sports seats with powered lumbar support, the Audi Music Interface, Bluetooth interface and voice control system for many infotainment functions. Both versions are equipped by default with comfort-oriented ‘dynamic suspension’, but both also offer the no-cost option of S line sports suspension with a 20mm lower setting if preferred.