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      Audi Q3 technology 40 TFSI First Drive Review

      Desirazu Venkat

      Desirazu Venkat

      What is it?

      Audi has been on a spree to launch a series of its SUVs in India over the last 12 months and, among them, has finally brought one of its most well-known and long-running nameplates. Yes, we are talking about the Q3 and, more specifically, the second generation that was unveiled in 2018. After multiple delays, it is finally here on Indian soil, and we have driven it to tell you if Audi’s BMW X1, Volvo XC40 and Mercedes-Benz GLA rival is up to the task of reestablishing its place in the fight.

      Audi Q3 Grille

      Audi has been one of the pioneers when it comes to the family look, and the Q3 continues this legacy quite well. Upfront, you get Audi’s single-frame grille with the Audi logo in the middle, while these arrow-shaped LED headlamps get this intricate three-slash pattern for the running lights. Surrounding the grille and this lower section is what Audi calls its high-gloss styling package.

      Audi Q3 Wheel

      Styling elements on the side comprise these flared wheel arches with these five-spoke or, as Audi calls it, five-arm style 18-inch alloy wheels. The strong shoulder line expands as you pass the rear doors and settles in this line over the wrap-around tail lamps. If the side was a bit plain, the rear has a bunch of muscular elements like a chunky bumper, a thick line above the tail lamps and the rear spoiler giving it just that little bit of extra sportiness. The wrap-around tail lamps get the same intricate pattern as the headlamps.  

      How is it on the inside?

      Audi Q3 Dashboard

      Step into the cabin of the new Q3, and as one would expect, it's a high-quality space with lots of large shapes, a vertical layout and a surprisingly large number of buttons which is a bit old school but reassuring nonetheless.

      Our test car has been trimmed out in a shade of beige with black, but you can also get the Q3 in an alternate combination of grey and black. If you are familiar with the previous Q3 model and Audis of the past, the colour schemes and backlighting will look very familiar, yet all feel very up-to-date. 

      Audi Q3 Infotainment System

      Up front, the dashboard is dominated by this driver-oriented layout, where the infotainment display is a 10.1-inch unit built into the dashboard. It runs Audi's latest touch MMi OS which is a significant departure from the last Q3, where Audi stuck hard and fast with a control wheel for interactivity. It’s a straightforward system with quick paths to all functions, clear graphics and a bright display. Oddly enough, while this new Q3 has wireless charging, it does not have wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The display on the right side is, of course, Audi’s virtual cockpit system that’s been around since the 2016 Q7. It’s very nice to look at, easy to use and provides a load of information in an easy-to-use form.

      Audi Q3 Front Row Seats

      As spaces go, you get enough headroom, knee room and shoulder room in the front row and this is despite the panoramic sunroof. The plastics in the first row are a mixed bag with some nice touches like these aluminium elements on the dashboard and centre console. On the flip side, a lot of the plastics on non-contact surfaces feel at least a segment down and do stand out when you take a comprehensive view of the cabin.

      Audi Q3 Rear Seats

      The second row is equally spacious for a car in this segment and this part of the market. You get enough headroom and knee room, but shoulder room comes at a cost if you want to put three in the back. The centre occupant will be a bit shortchanged due to the transmission tunnel and the protrusion of the AC vents into the cabin space. The seats themselves split fold 60:40 and also have a recline function for additional comfort. Finally, the boot at 500 litres is wide and spacious but has a high loading lip due to the design of the car.   

      What’s on the feature list?

      Audi Q3 Sunroof/Moonroof

      On the features front, this top-spec model gets dual-zone climate control with rear AC vents, leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, power front seats, adjustable rear seats, ambient lighting, Virtual cockpit plus digital instrument cluster, Audi sound system, wireless charger, gesture-operated tailgate and touchscreen infotainment system with the 10.1-inch display running the Audi MMI touch OS. Both versions of the car get six airbags, auto parking technology, ABS with EBD, Hill assist technology, traction control and a stability programme. Missing from this list is ADAS, a 360-degree camera and a tyre pressure monitoring system, both of which the Volvo XC40 has had right from the beginning. 

      How is it to drive?

      Audi Q3 Engine Shot

      Powering this Q3 is Audi’s 2.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol engine that produces 187bhp/320Nm and is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. You also get Audi’s legendary Quattro AWD technology standard on both the Technology and Premium Plus variants.

      Right off the bat, the 2.0-litre petrol engine has a great amount of tractability, offering useable performance both in the city and out on the highway. It’s very refined and makes a great little noise when you push it hard. As a part of the deal, you get multiple driving modes, each altering the throttle and steering response. At one end is the eco mode, where the response is completely dulled. This mode is very useful when you are in heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic and need a low-end grunt. At the other end of the scale is the dynamic mode, where you access all the power and torque with pushback in seat acceleration and a claimed 0-100kmph time of 7.3 seconds.

      Audi Q3 Front View

      Another place where the Q3 shines is in the ride quality department. There’s an almost flat nature to the way the Q3 rides over the rough patches without sending much back into the cabin. Even on the big stuff, it settles quickly. This, combined with the quick availability of torque, means you can keep your constant and fast for a considerable period of your driving experience.  The steering on this new Q3 feels overly assisted and could have been done with a little heft, especially at higher speeds. It is, however, accurate and in the dynamic drive mode making for an enjoyable driving experience, especially when you need to knock off the distances in quick succession.     

      Should you buy one?

      Audi Q3 Left Rear Three Quarter

      Audi has brought its A-game back to the entry-level luxury segment by launching the Q3 in India. It replaces the smaller Q2 and puts Audi back into the thick of the fight with cars like the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the recently updated Volvo XC40. On the plus side, the engine offers a great amount of tractability, the car is very good looking and it offers a solid ladder-on-frame-like SUV ride quality. The Q3 is now the only petrol car in the segment to offer AWD as standard across the range. On the flip side, it lacks crucial features like a 360-degree camera, ADAS and a tyre pressure monitoring system. We also found that the quality of plastics used on a lot of surfaces was at least one to two segments below what was expected from a car like the Audi Q3

      Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

      Audi Q3
      AudiQ3 ₹ 43.81 Lakh OnwardsCheck On Road Price
      Audi | Audi Q3 | Q3 | Q3 Premium Plus | Q3 Technology

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