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Audi loads up the Q3’s formula

S Muralidhar | Updated on January 24, 2018

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Sharper-looking headlamps. S MURALIDHAR

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Plush interiors The new and improved Q3 cabin, done up in black, beige and grey.

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The new facelifted compact luxury SUV comes packed with more equipment and some pleasing changes to its design



Perceived quality is one of the most important metrics applied by buyers across all the segments of the passenger car industry. It is as important for the entry hatchback buyer as it is for the luxury car buyer. And perceived quality is often determined by multiple factors including the equipment levels in the car.

Most buyers who end up buying lower trim variants are aware of the compromise, especially in the luxury segment. And entry luxury cars are faced with a particularly daunting prospect of wooing buyers with an attractive price and yet not seeming like a big trade-off in perceived quality. Before the Audi A3 was launched, the Q3 was the brand’s showcase for aspiring entry luxury buyers. And the rising interest in sports utility vehicles and the Audi Q7’s success had ensured that the Q3’s body style was destined to find takers. But, like the BMW X1, the Audi Q3 seemed too bereft of equipment that would have helped boost its perceived quality.

Facelift

Now, recognising the rising aspirations of buyers in the segment, Audi has launched the fresh, face-lifted and better equipped Q3. Unlike the new Q7 which has been launched globally recently, the 2015 Q3 still retains much of the predecessor’s overall body design. There are sharper elements like the new, thinner LED signature headlamps with daytime running lights, the Q7 inspired bonnet grille with its merging top edges and triple slats. And then there are the over-sized air scoops in the front fender. The rear design of the face-lifted Q3 sees fewer changes, but the one that will catch your eye is the new LED turn indicators that light up in a series from the inside out to actually indicate the direction of the turn. There are new 17-inch alloys on offer and three new body colours as well. Now, the exterior design of the 2015 Audi Q3 presents a more mature, deceptively larger face to the onlooker.

Cabin

Step into the new Q3 and there is an immediately perceivable improvement in the quality of the cabin equipment. There is a black, grey and creamy beige colour theme that runs across the various elements in the cabin. The centre stack is neatly layered with precisely positioned controls. There is more maturity to be seen in the choice of matt aluminium and textured metal inserts and surrounds. Audi calls it Tangent aluminium inlay in the variants that the trim is offered with.

There is also the choice of the Audi Sound System and the infotainment system includes Audi music interface and a 20GB Jukebox in addition to the regular features. Safety features include six airbags, hill-descent assist and auto anti-glare mirrors. Boot space is 460 litres when all five seats are in use. The Q3 continues to be offered with only the diesel powertrain option. The engine in the Q3 35 TDI Quattro S-tronic is the same 2-litre, 4-cylinder diesel with Audi’s VTG turbocharger in the same state of tune.

Performance

The engine generates 177hp of peak power at 4,200rpm and peak torque of 380Nm between 1,750-2500rpm. The transmission is the 7-speed S-tronic dual clutch with electrohydraulic control. The engine is a refined, eager mill that has enough low-end pulling power to handle the duties of city traffic and cruising on the highway. The dual clutch gearbox is an absolute gem, shifting quick to ensure efficiency in regular auto and drive modes, but shifting late or holding the selected gear all the way to the engine rpm redline when it is being driven in Sports or manual mode. Audi Drive select also allows the driver to customise other engine and steering settings. The steering in the new Q3 is not the most precise of the luxury car club, but it offers a good, mixed setting for easy city manoeuvrability and turning precision. The new Q3’s top speed is 212 kmph, the 0 to 100 kmph runs comes in 8.2 seconds and its ARAI-rated fuel efficiency is 15.73 kmpl.

Bottomline

The face-lifted Q3 is a much more wholesome car now. Better equipped and with a more comfortable suspension setting, this could become the benchmark in the segment. The new Q3 ups the desirability by including even more features like paddle shifters, electrically adjustable mirrors and a reversing camera. A petrol powertrain will be a good addition, but for now it is just the diesel.

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Published on June 18, 2015
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