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2015 Audi Q3 -Better looks, better performance

S Ronendra Singh | Updated on March 12, 2018

Fully equipped: The Audi Q3’s infotainment system connects the smartphone to the Internet , so passengers can use the WiFi hotspot to surf the net or use e-mail, while the driver can enjoy tailored services from Audi connect.

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The Audi Q3 gets a face-lift and some new equipment. Its due here only by mid2015, but we travel to Munich to drive it



The afternoon in Munich was almost a freezing zero degree Celsius and worse it was raining. One would have loved to be just wrapped up cosy inside a blanket. But, we were there last week to drive the new Audi Q3 -- and we were hoping that it was waiting for us with a warm welcome inside.

Although there were two variants -- 2.0-litre TDI and 2.0-litre TFSI -- we chose to drive the TDI version, which is definitely coming to India. The company will decide on the TFSI version later and there is only a 50:50 chance of it making it to our shores because of the lesser demand for the petrol variants even in this segment.

The luxury compact SUV will be launched in February in Germany, and in the second half of next year in India. The just-above 4-metre (in length) Q3 is one of the best selling cars for Audi worldwide and the company has been upgrading it every now and then. The company has sold more than four-lakh units worldwide since its very first launch in 2011. And, it is the best selling car in India for Audi and in fact, in the segment.

In India too, it has faired well and a lot of people buy it both as an entry into the world of luxury and as an additional vehicle in the family. Its sporty credentials and off-roading ability with its all-wheel drive capability are pluses. The more powerful engine and the company claiming it to be more fuel efficient (by 17 per cent) compared to the existing model, buyers will now have more to look forward to.

The 2015 Audi Q3 will have few new colours such as Mango Yellow, Florett Silver and Utopia Blue, which may attract women drivers too. Interestingly, the company may also bring in the Campingzelt model, which is a customised version that has an inbuilt tent at the rear.

The camping tent takes just three minutes to deploy and rolls back in four minutes at press of a button. The company said it expects demand for such models in India and hopefully will introduce it next year. So instead of booking a camp in some weekend destination, one can just take the Audi Q3 and live in his/ her own camp.

However, other markets globally will have the chance of buying the new Q3 as sales of the redesigned Q3, which Audi builds at its Martorell plant outside Barcelona, Spain, will begin in February. The company said its base price will start at 29,600 euros (around ₹24 lakh).

Design

There are very minor changes in the exterior design of the facelifted 2015 Q3. Even in the cabin one has to look closely to figure out the changes. The few changes that are noticeable from outside are the xenon headlights which are now standard, LED taillights, the single piece larger grille and the revised bumper. One can choose LED headlights as an option too.

The new Q3 will be available in two trims -- Design Equipment Line and Sport Equipment Line -- with six-speed and seven-speed S-tronic transmissions with free-wheel function and optional shift paddles on the steering wheel.

Designers at the company said that they have given the new Q3 a premium character and features like the sculpted single-frame grille are the defining element at the front of the car. They have also honed the details of the coupe-like lines with the characteristic wrap-around tailgate.

Interiors

Just like the changes on the outside of the car, the alterations on the inside too are few. The first impression is the all-black toned dashboard, replacing the beige-grey format in the existing model, and a slew of advanced technology visible to assist the driver are favourable additions to the cabin.

The new Q3 features new tech like the Audi side assist with the LED indicator in the door mirror warning the driver if another vehicle is in the blind spot or is approaching rapidly from the rear. Similarly, Audi’s active lane-assist works with video cameras that detect lane markings. It actively assists steering to help the driver return to the lane if he or she comes too close to a line without using the indicator. The camera-based traffic sign recognition system shows speed limit signs as graphics in the driver information system display.

The MMI navigation plus, which is the high-end infotainment solution from Audi, is also available with the Q3 now. It connects with the smartphone, which connects the Audi Q3 to the Internet. Passengers can use the WiFi hotspot to surf the net or use e-mail, while the driver can enjoy tailored services from Audi connect.

These include the web radio Audi music stream, online traffic information, and navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View. However, with a lot of security concerns around Google Earth and its Street View in India, the latter part of the options may not work in our country.

Performance

Let us be honest here in saying that the performance of the new Q3, while on Munich’s roads was pretty good, but may differ here on Indian roads. The reason we are saying this is because the road infrastructure is much better there as compared to the best of roads here. We can’t compare the Jaipur-Ajmer or Yamuna Expressway with the Autobahn.

Having said that, we think, the Q3 with its new equipment will not disappoint customers here, just like the outgoing model. The car itself understands the road conditions and grabs the opportunity to perform accordingly. The sporty seating is comfortable for drivers and offers plenty of space at all five seating positions. For example, like we have recounted, it was raining the whole day when we were driving the Q3 in Munich, but the road did not feel slippery at all.

The NVH has also improved and a similar performance on the Indian roads can be expected, though road noise was clearly much lower around Munich thanks to the quality of the tarmac on the autobahns. The turbocharged, direct injection engines are more efficient now and power output is higher by 10hp at 184bhp and 380Nm of torque for the top variant. Similar improvements have been done to the base version that produces 150bhp and 340Nm. Audi engineers said that they have revamped the engine and made it with 15 transmission combinations depending on the engine and whether it is front-wheel drive and/ or quattro drive. Compared with the previous model, performance is better and CO2 emissions have been reduced by up to 17 per cent and the 2.0 TDI bears the ‘ultra’ badge as proof of its efficiency.

Bottomline

While there are not many changes to the looks of the car, many enhancements have been done under the hood and the interiors. When it comes to India next year, it will not only compete closely with Mercedes-Benz’s GLA-Class, but may compete with many others vehicles if it is priced right.

Published on November 27, 2014

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