Are you in the market for something that will carry not just your family and friends, but your spaniel as well? Then do consider the new Audi Q3, a compact premium SUV.
I drove the Audi Q3 35 TDI Quattro S tronic (also available as a six-speed manual), and though nothing has changed in the engine, its cosmetic changes are enough to make you fall in love with it all over again. The Audi Q3 was hugely successful when it was launched in India in 2012. In fact, Audi became the first carmaker in India to target a whole new segment—singles, besides, of course, couples and young families. Now, after three years, in its refreshed avatar, the Q3 has not lost its punch. In fact, laden with more tech, it is now twice as much fun!
On the outside, the endearing coupe-like lines, LED daytime running lights and wraparound tail lamps make the new Q3 stand out. Add to that the sculpted, single-frame grille and the chrome-plated tailpipe, which give it a more robust and well-finished look.
The inside is a very nice place to be, thanks to its well-appointed cabin. Commuters who spend long hours on the road are bound to appreciate the interior. The MMI (multi-media interface) system with navigation impresses with its touchscreen, just as the newly added reverse camera does. There is a new phone pad and two SD card slots. The interior features Audi’s new Tangent Aluminum inlay; the switches and control knobs also sport elegant aluminium inserts.
There is adequate space for your guests and their luggage. Thanks to the clever use of glass, one does not feel claustrophobic. Check out the Q3’s sunroof, and you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Powered by a four-cylinder, 1,968cc TDI engine with a seven-speed S tronic transmission, the Q3 never disappoints. The engine, which offers maximum output of 177hp@4,200rpm and maximum torque of 380Nm@1,750-2,500rpm, is extremely refined. No external noise filters into the cabin, as Audi has done a remarkable job with the insulation. The electromechanical power steering on Q3 has always been a delight. Not once did I feel the SUV’s bulk while manoeuvring it, nor did I find the size or the grip of the steering awkward.
The gear shift paddles only enhanced the driving pleasure. Acceleration and braking tests on pothole-free roads prove the Q3’s body control capabilities. Its ground clearance of 170mm is not bad for Indian roads, but it is worth noting that its rival BMW X1 offers 179mm. The new Q3 sprints from 0 to 100kmph in 8.2 seconds; with 212kmph as its top speed, you can look forward to some seriously exhilarating drives. With ABS (anti-lock braking system), ESC (electronic stability control), hill descent control and airbags, it also offers most safety features one would expect from a premium compact SUV.
The new Q3 is priced between Rs28.99 lakh and Rs37.50 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). So, if you want to splurge on something that you would like to use on weekdays and weekends, this SUV is an excellent choice.
Width (excluding mirrors): 1,831mm
Fuel tank capacity: 64 litres
Top speed: 212kmph
Price: Rs28.99 lakh to Rs37.50 lakh