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Q3: Cheapest Audi offering brilliant performance

July 25, 2013 10:41 IST

Q3: Cheapest Audi offering brilliant performance

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Faisal Ali Khan

The Q3 might be the cheapest Audi in India but it offers tremendous all round performance, writes Faisal Ali Khan of MotorBeam.com

The demand for SUVs is on a rise world over and it’s not just limited to the mass market segment. Even luxury car customers prefer these vehicles.

Audi's cheapest car in India was the A4, until the Q3 arrived last year. The baby Q competes with BMW's X1 which has kick started the entry-level SUV segment.

Does the Audi Q3 feel as special as an Audi should? We find out.

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The Audi Q3 takes heavy inspiration from its elder siblings in the Q range. One glance at the vehicle and you immediately realise it's a smaller version of the highly successful Q7 and Q5.

From certain angles, the Q3 can be mistaken for a Q5. The aggressive body lines and beautiful lights all around are the real highlights of the Q3.

The front sports the large hexagonal grille with LED day time running lights which have now become an Audi signature. The side reveals the slightly smaller dimensions of the car while the rear shows the macho SUV stance.

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Q3: Cheapest Audi offering brilliant performance

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Step inside and you will be pleasantly greeted by the airy cabin. The dual tone dashboard features very rich materials and quality is truly top class.

The 4-spoke steering wheel feels good to hold and has a plethora of buttons to control in car functions.

Audi hasn't skipped on equipment and the Q3 comes loaded to the gills with features like leather seats, dual zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, electric parking brake, auto hold and Audi's Multi Media Interface (MMI).

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Q3: Cheapest Audi offering brilliant performance

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The seats of the Audi Q3 are extremely comfortable. Long drives won't make you tired and the driver's seat is adjustable in multiple ways using the power adjust function which helps you get that perfect driving position.

The rear seats offer decent legroom and headroom. However only four people can sit inside the car as the hump in the centre is too big and prevents three to sit comfortably at the rear. Surprisingly there is no rear seat arm rest. Boot capacity is a generous 460 litres.

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Audi offers three variants of the Q3 - two diesel variants and one petrol. All variants come with Audi's famous quattro system, which channels power to all wheels to ensure excellent road grip and off-road abilities.

This system is a bit rear biased and sends around 60 per cent power to the rear wheels. The fantastic quattro works so well, you are never at a loss of grip at any situation.

Electronic systems like ESP also help in preventing any sort of wheel spin.

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Q3: Cheapest Audi offering brilliant performance

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Powering the petrol Audi Q3 is a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine which belts out 211 HP of power and 300 Nm of torque.

This engine has received many awards for its fantastic performance. The motor offers linear performance and is quite quick in propelling the Q3 from 0 to 100 km/hr, taking only 6.9 seconds in the process.

A small tap on the throttle is enough to reveal the capabilities of this powerplant. The motor is so well refined, it never ever knocks or feels coarse. Redline comes in smoothly and the motor is quick to rev to its near 7,000 RPM redline.

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Undoubtedly, the strongest part of the petrol motor is the mid-range and the Audi Q3 TFSI emits a sporty roar from its exhaust at high revs.

Audi has given the petrol Q3 an auto Stop/Start system which discreetly works behind the scenes to boost mileage (it turns off the car when it is stationary without letting you realise).

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The diesel engine is the more popular one though and is a 2.0-litre TDI unit which produces 177 BHP of power and 380 Nm of torque.

This motor gives the Audi Q3 a 0-100 km/hr time of 8.2 seconds and as expected, the vehicle is thoroughly refined and power delivery is very smooth. There is some hint of lag but the mid-range is strong.

Both petrol and diesel engines of the Q3 are mated to a 7-speed S Tronic gearbox, which is intelligent enough to shift gears as per your needs (depending on throttle input).

There is also a manual and sport mode but no paddle shifters are offered on the steering wheel.

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Audi has tweaked the suspension of the Q3 on the stiffer side. Ride quality is comfortable but bad roads do unsettle the car.

The stiffness can be felt at low speeds but as you gather momentum, the Q3's ride becomes more pliant. Handling is surprisingly good and body control is fantastic. What really impressed us are the brakes, which offer tremendous feedback.

The only fly in the ointment is the steering wheel which spoils the overall experience. At low speeds it is light which aids in city driving but as you start driving spiritedly, the steering doesn't convey as much as you would expect from a car which has such fantastic engine performance.

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The Audi Q3 is a well-rounded package and definitely it feels more SUV than its competitors.

Audi hasn't stripped out the Q3 just because it is their entry level offering. The German automaker has maintained the appeal by giving the Q3 most of the features it offers in its higher range of cars.

The Q3 petrol is fun to drive, while the diesel is the more practical of the two with its better mileage.

The dynamics are well balanced and the interior styling creates a very positive impression too. Overall the Audi Q3 certainly makes a strong case for itself.

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The Audi Q3 is priced at Rs. 46.60 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai) for the top-end diesel and petrol variants.

The company will start locally assembly of the Q3 later this year. Currently the Q3 is fully imported and is brought in via the CBU route.




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