WHEN: March 2012
HOW MUCH: Rs 20 – 25 lakh
ENGINES: 2.0 TFSI petrol (215 PS or 173 PS); 2.0 TDI diesel (180 PS or 143 PS)
COMPETITION: BMW X1, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander
Audi’s all-new Q3 is the third in its Q family. Q designates Audi’s SUV range, with the mammoth Q7 at the top of the range, the mid-size Q5 and now this – the all-new Audi Q3.
When you look at it, it’s instantly recognisable as an Audi, with its chromed ‘Bavarian beard’ front grille, wedge-shaped headlamps (with xenon lighting technology), and the flat bonnet. Audi has made certain concessions with the Q3’s styling however, with a steeply raked rear windscreen to give the car a sporty profile. It works quite well, as you can see from these pictures. A muscular ridge runs from the edge of the head lamps, along the length of the Q3’s sides, and meets with the tail lamps at the rear. This helps to define the bulked-up stance of the car. There isn’t a surfeit of lines or complex shapes, unlike many modern designs, and the Audi Q3’s simple geometric style appeals a lot to me.
The Audi Q3 as sold in Europe is available with a number of wheel sizes, ranging from 16-inch to 19-inch diameter, but it’s likely that the Indian-made Q3 will get 16- or 17-inch wheels. Larger than that would be impractical on our roads.
The Q3 shares a lot of its basic architecture with the Volkswagen Tiguan, itself based on a beefed-up and raised VW Golf. However, Audi has spun a lot of its on Vorsprung durch Technic magic into the Q3. So it has multi-link suspension, quattro all-wheel drive and Audi’s brilliant new seven-speed S Tronic gearbox (except on the base 143 PS diesel). The driver has the option of changing gears with steering-wheel mounted paddles as well.
The Audi Q3 is the first to get Audi’s aggressive weight saving measures, and the engineers in Ingolstadt have taken a scalpel to this SUV. Amazingly, the base version tips the scales at just under 1500 kilos, same as the Audi A4 saloon. To achieve this, Audi engineers have resorted to tailored blanks made of lightweight high-tensile steel, and also a lot of aluminium in the construction. This not only makes the Q3’s body shell lighter and stronger, it also makes this little SUV corrosion resistant, an important consideration, especially in a country like India.
The interiors of the new Q3 are unmistakably Audi, with the same angular design throughout the cabin. A design highlight though is the steering-wheel; the off-set steering boss and split four-spoke design looks very cool. We haven’t driven it yet, but given that it’s smaller than a Q5 even, interior space is likely to be at a premium. Even the bigger Q5 feels slightly cramped in the rear, and so don’t be surprised if the Q3 is even more so. However, the new Audi Q3 does come with a lot of features to aid driver comfort and safety, including electronic stability programme, hold assist function, park-assist, lane-change assist, on-board navigation and even internet on the move with Wi-fi connectivity, although we doubt the Q3 as sold in India will get this last feature. The Bose music system with 14 speakers is expected to provide an unbeatable audio experience in the new Audi Q3.
The Q3’s powertrain will be exclusively four-cylinder engines only, with two diesel and two petrol options. The base diesel version will come with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox only. There should be takers for the Q3 in this avatar in India, although our guess is the best-seller will be the 180 PS diesel Quattro with the S Tronic gearbox. For petrol heads, there are two versions of the 2.0-litre TFSI as well, but it’s likely that in India only the 173 PS version will be offered.
The new Audi Q3 will be assembled at Audi’s Aurangabad facility and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2012. Audi will display the new Q3 at the Auto Expo in January, which will allow customers to get up close and personal with the car, and also allow Audi to gather customer feedback.
The Q3 has all the makings of a winner from Audi. It’s stylish, will be well-built, and comes with a convincing powertrain package and all the feel-good features a customer would expect in this class. More importantly, it will give Audi a lot of leverage in the emerging luxury segment, which till now has been dominated by BMW, especially with its X1 SUV. The Audi Q3 and the BMW X1 will go head-to-head, but the X1 already has a head-start over the Q3, so it’ll be interesting to see how the baby Audi stacks up.
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- upcoming cars
- Audi India
- Chevrolet India
- India launch
- Land Rover
- Tata Motors
- 1.0 TSI
- Ashok Leyland Stile
- Ashok Leyland
- A3 launch
- 8-speed Steptronic
- 508 India
- 3 Series
- 2013 Renault Fluence
- 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
- 2013 launch
- 2012 India launch
- 2.0 TFSI
- 2.0 TDI
- 1.5 dCi diesel