Back in 2012, the Q3, a compact luxury SUV, opened the Audi brand to younger buyers—its tagline was ‘Start Young’. For over two years, the Q3 continued its unabated run (selling more than BMW X1), and helped Audi India increase sales from 9,003 units in 2012 to 10,851 units in 2014, making it the country’s largest luxury carmaker.
The arrival of stronger competitors (such as Mercedes-Benz GLA) softened the sales of the Q3; in March 2020, when India moved from BS4 emission norms to BS6, the Q3 was discontinued.
The car is back in a new avatar, and we drove it in and around Delhi.
It’s got ‘new-age Audi
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It has the 2.0-litre TFSI engine (190 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque), mated to 7-speed S tronic gearbox, and comes with the quattro all-wheel drive.
It’s fast—from 0-100 km/h in just 7.3 seconds—and acceleration through the gears is ‘wowsome’. Cornering at high speeds, going over poor roads, cruising on six-lane highways, navigating urban Indian traffic … everything is comfortable, and easy.The steering feedback—mechanical signals that the front tyres send to the steering wheel—is accurate, and you feel every bump and dip in the road through the steering wheel. This leads to safer driving.During a short drive in Delhi traffic, the Q3 returned fuel efficiency of about 14 km/litre (as displayed by the tripmeter).
Doors open wide so getting in and out is easy, sitting on the driver’s seat you have easy access to all buttons and controls, four adults can be very comfortable inside, the cabin is insulated from outside noise, it has a panoramic sunroof, and the boot space is the largest in the segment (530 litres).In other words, everything inside the cabin appears well put together, including controls such as power window switches and parking brake control button in aluminium look. Some people, however, may find the central touchscreen a bit small.
Back in 2012, the Q3 was an aspirational luxury vehicle. It doesn’t appear so anymore. Top-end cars of mass-market brands such as Hyundai and Kia offer similar features as the Q3 at a lower price point. An automotive analyst shared that the luxury car buyer has matured, and would like to buy a bigger car (such as the Q5) as her first car. The Q3 comes in two variants—the Premium Plus for Rs 44.89 lakh and the Technology for Rs 50.39 lakh (ex-showroom). But at just Rs 10 lakh extra, you can buy the bigger Q5 (starts at Rs 60 lakh).
Engine: 1,984 cc
Power: 140 kW
Torque: 320 Nm
Drive: All-wheel drive
Transmission: 7-speed S tronic
0-100 km/h: 7.3 seconds
Price: Rs 44.89 lakh
Competitors: Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1