This is the Baby Q, the facelifted version of one of the renowned German manufacturer’s highest selling models in India. Launched here last year, the Q3’s first makeover since its launch comes in the form a new nose with a new grille and headlamps, new taillamps and slight tweaks to the interiors. True, the Q3 has been among the best selling SUVs in premium segment, but you still got to keep things fresh in order to stay ahead in the game. It maybe noted that the pre-facelift Q3 had to face heat from the arrival of new rivals like the 2016 BMW X1 and, to some extent, the Volvo S60 Cross Country. Recently, the good chaps at Audi lent us a Q3 35 TDI in the Premium Plus trim for a bit and you can read about our impressions of the crossover in our 2015 Audi Q3 Test Drive Review here
First things first, the bright Misano Red our car came finished in is very eye-catching, but might not be to everyone’s liking. Audi’s new single frame grille, which can now also be seen on the new Q7, gives the Q3 an imposing face and the angular bumper elements and sharp headlamps add a much-needed dose of aggression to the soft roader’s exterior. Our test car came with the optional full LED headlamps, which get the fancy dynamic turn indicators and a different LED DRL motif as compared to the standard Xenon Plus package. The only change made to the tail of the Q3 is new LED detailing for the tail lamp, which, like the headlamps, now feature dynamic turn indicators. Minimal usage of black body cladding has been made all around the car which is definitely a good thing.
The facelift brings with it slight updates to the cabin of the Q3, which might not be instantly noticeable. As far as the major changes are concerned, the dashboard now sports a much darker colour scheme and the wood inserts have been replaced by faux metallic ones, which look much better than before. Audi has thrown in some extra kit with the facelift including a secondary SD card slot, satellite navigation, 20 GB of on board storage and new audio unit. A rear view camera and panoramic sunroof are now part of the standard equipment. The display doesn’t pop out or go in on its own and has to be done manually. Are there any shortcomings of the Q3’s cabin? Well, we found the rotary temperature selection knobs for the dual zone climate control to be a tad unintuitive to use. Also, fitting three in the second row is a bit of a squeeze.
Since the updates made to the 2015 model are purely cosmetic, the engine and transmission combo remains unaltered. Under the hood, you find a 2.0-litre TDI turbo Diesel that is good for 174 bhp of max. power and 380 Nm of peak torque. It comes mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission and Audi claims this combination returns 15.77 kpl (overall). The Audi Q3 feels very sprightly, moving off the line and gathering speed pretty quickly. There are three modes to choose from – Comfort, Sport, and Auto. Comfort mode, as the name suggests is best suited to everyday driving while the Sport mode is the one to go for if you want a more involving driving experience. Heck, even the engine note gets raspier in Sport mode! Audi has also added steering-mounted paddle shifts to the 2015 Q3 for a sportier driving experience.
Audi’s engineers have done a great job of getting this crossover’s suspension setup just right. It offers a comfortable ride over most surfaces without crashing over potholes and causing much discomfort to the occupants. Body roll, for a vehicle of this height, is well contained, which again highlights the Q3’s admirable dynamics. However, it is let down by a light steering, which mars the overall driving experience. Yes, a light steering does help you make light work of navigating through the hustle and bustle of city roads, but it just doesn’t weigh up enough at higher speeds. Also, Q3’s Quattro AWD system and 170 mm of ground clearance ensure the crossover fairly potent even off the beaten tarmac.
There is no denying that this here is a very capable machine. As an urban crossover, it is hard to fault the Audi Q3 since it does whatever is expected of it and more. It isn’t just the best all-rounder amongst its chief rivals – the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA- but it is also a great alternative to entry level luxury sedans and hatchbacks such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Audi A3, and the BMW 1-Series. There are a few chinks in the Q3’s armour though; for instance, the light steering is a let down. And at almost INR 40 lacs (ex-showroom, New Delhi), the top end variants aren’t exactly what we would call ‘well-priced’. However, if you’re in the market looking for an entry-level luxury crossover, then you wouldn’t go wrong putting your money down on this one.
|Length x Width x Height||4385x1831x1608 mm|
|Kerb Weight||1660 kg|
|Wheel Type and Size||16” Alloys|
|Ground Clearance||170 mm|
|Boot Space||460 litres|
|Engine Type/ Displacement||2.0 L TDI Turbocharged Diesel|
|Top Speed||212 km/h|
|Acceleration (0-100 km/h)||8.2 secs|
|Transmission (Gearbox)||7-speed automatic with paddle shifters|
|Mileage||15.77 kpl (claimed)|
|Air Conditioner Type||2-Zone Automatic Climate Control|
|Variant||Price (ex-showroom, New Delhi)|
|30 TDI S Edition||INR 30.5 lacs|
|35 TDI Quattro Premium||INR 35.2 lacs|
|35 TDI Quattro Premium Plus||INR 39.8 lacs|
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