Audi is an aspirational car brand for many people, in lines with its rivals BMW and Mercedes Benz. Q3 is the entry level SUV series from Audi (Q5 and Q7 for more serious, richer customers) and is one of their best selling cars in India. Late 2015 Audi gave a facelift to all cars in Q series, including the Q3. I got to rent this car for few hours and experience the Quattro engine first hand. I drove it around Bengaluru city for about 100kms.
Image courtesy : Shrinidhi Hande
This post gives you a review of the car based on my experience.
Typical Audi look but new 2015 refresh front looks cleaner and mature. Not having a fog lamp is a visible void in the design. Alloy wheel design also feels more appealing now. Tail lamp turn indicator is a visual treat to watch due to incremental movement of LED lights in the direction of turn. Rest of the design is largely unchanged. To me a proper SUV should have a footrest and roof rails-so that someone can hold the roof rail and stand on the footrest- both missing in Q3.
Change to Dynamic Mode and Sport Mode and the Q3 Quattro is sheer fun to drive. With over 170 BHP of raw power at your disposal, nothing seems impossible. The brute sound of the engine seeps into cabin and excites the driver even more. Of course there’re comfort and Auto modes for more leisurely drive. Cruise control ensures a relaxed drive on highways. Tilt and telescopic adjustment, memory seats help select most comfortable driving position. View of the road is great and hardly anything to complain in this department.
Neat and premium, but nothing extraordinary. At par with other cars in its class. Panoramic sunroof is super cool. Lots of airbags for safety. Seats only 5, boot space is large and comes with a spare wheel (BMW misses it because of run flat tyres than can run 200kms even if it is flat.) Navigation and reverse camera do not seem to be standard in Q3 3.5 TDI, but can be availed as optional extra. Dashboard is still analogue (speedo meter and tachometer) but has all the information you would need. Steering is multi-functional and central console is pretty neat and minimalistic. Parking brake is just a button and easy to operate.
Audi Q3’s certified Fuel economy is 15.7kmpl (Diesel) but expect a practical mileage of around 10 kmpl. Buyers in this segment aren’t really worried about fuel economy, so you shouldn’t be asking this question at the dealership if you can afford a 40 lakh+ car.
Should I buy one?
Audi Q3 range starts from 29 lakhs and goes till 38 lakhs at present. Add another 25% for on road price and another lakh extra due to increase in tax in 2016-17 union budget. Thus, at 38-50 lakhs bracket, Audi Q3 competes with BMW X1, Mercedes GLA Class. I have driven the GLA class which feels under powered and space constrained. X1 is a bit cheaper than Q3 and is available in petrol engine also. If you are excited by the Quattro experience and budget constrained to buy a more serious Q5, then Q3 is a good option for you. But if you need a SUV for pure off road purpose, Mitsubishi Pajero sport is a cheaper and more capable alternative. If you can extend budget by another 10-15 lakhs, Landrover discovery sport is a worth considering. If you feel 40 lakhs is waste of money on a car or it is beyond your budget, a top end Hyundai Creta or Mahindra XUV5OO will give you most of the features and functions available in Q3 for half the price, sans the brand image Audi can offer.