2013 Audi Q3 Review: The “Q – Class”

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Despite not knowing a word in Italian, we all know what “Quattro” means. It means ‘four’ but its German cannotation is slightly altered when it comes to automobiles. It alludes to four-wheel drive and Audi’s brand of four-wheel drive in particular. It became popular as an icon in the world of rallying and continues to dominate the sport. For the company which redefined the 4×4 motoring technology comes a new family member, the Audi Q3. Audi is all set to launch the new coupe-crossover cum compact SUV in next few months. The Q3 is said to have created a buzz during its display at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. Is this baby Audi just a down sized Q5 or something more than that?

The Audi Q3 is immediately recognizable as the youngest member of the large Audi family. It is based on the VW Tiguan platform, but is slightly a larger platform than many of its peers. In touch with the tradition, its looks are a derivative from its larger siblings – Q5 and Q7. The front end of the car is painstalikgly sculpted and sets strong accents. Like its big brothers, the headlights of the Audi Q3 are wedge-shaped. The upper corners of the single-frame radiator grille are beveled, and the lattice is dominated by the vertical elements. Two rising lines on the side and the large air inlets with the horizontal bars underscore the powerful appearance of the compact SUV.

The side view is dominated by the flowing, coupe-like roof that quickly begins sloping back downward. It flows into an unusually flat D-pillar reminiscent of the A3 models. The tailgate has a three-dimentional look and is large and undivided. An underbody guard caps the bottom of the rear end, giving the compact premium SUV a sturdy road stance. The exhaust system terminates in dual tailpipes on the left. On the whole, the Q3 has a very distinctive road stance which is robust, powerful and sporty. The new headlamp and tail lamp look sleek making the Q3 look fat-free and purposeful. It is obvious that the car takes up the concept of 2007 Cross Coupe quattro showcar.

The compact SUV Q3 is expected to share the same 2.0 litre petrol and diesel engines from its bigger brother Q5. The petrol 2.0 TFSI makes 211 PS and 350 Nm of torque while the 2.0 TDI which will be more popular here produces 170PS of power and a similiar 350Nm of torque. Fuel efficiency technologies such as direct injection, turbo charging and the start-stop system will also be present. But the highlighting feature would be the company’s four wheel drive Quattro system, which the BMW X1, Q3’s major rival, is deprived of.

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Audi Q3’s Interiors is a typical of the brand – high quality and well spec-ed

The interior of the Q3 mirrors the exterior design’s sinewy and muscular styling. The wrap-around, a large arc above the dashboard and extending from one front door to the other, is a design feature borrowed from the brand’s large model series. The broad center console is asymmetrical and inclined slightly toward the driver. The layout is clear and the controls are practically functional. The cockpit is more driver focused and the colour scheme is exemplary. The panoramic sunroof is extra-ordinary. Key features list would include adaptive cruise control, keyless ignition, optional Audi drive select, side assist warnings (for blind spots), Active lane assist system, etc.

Of course we Indians love the Q7 remarkably. And this ensures greater confidence for its younger sibling Q3. But as usual, pricing would probably play an important role. Q3 may be priced somewhere around 26-36 lakhs, so the same bracket as the BMW X1. The car will be assembled from the Audi’s Aurangabad plant, so CKD duties may get reduced. The car has everything to be the best of the ever expanding class segment. It will absolutely give Audi the brand elevation and sales records to become the India’s top luxury brand by 2015.

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Dhiyanesh is equally crazy about driving cars and writing about them. This guy loves everything with a steering wheel, so, at someday if self-driving cars take up all driving, he is sure to go nuts! He likes sedans of 90s era, esp W140 S-Class and R34 Skyline GT. Apart from usual motoring stuffs, he maintains a strong appetite for sociological perspectives on cars, their historical and cultural footprints. He owns a 1999 Fiat Siena passionately, and drives a Ford Fiesta.