A five door compact crossover SUV, the Audi Q3 evolved from Audi Cross Coupe Quattro that was originally devised by Julian Hoenig in 2006. It was a concept car with 20 inch wheels and electrically controlled bonnet. It was equipped with a 2.0 TDI engine that churned out a power of 204 PS and had a torque of 400 Nm. This Audi was unveiled at Shanghai Motor Show in April 2007.
Audi Q3 actually went in to full scale production in June 2011. It was planned and positioned as a lifestyle/sports vehicle. As against this, the mid-luxury compact Q5 and full-size Q7 are marketed on basis of their utility and off-road performance. The design and development work for Q3 had started after board approval in 2007 and Julian Hoenig`s design was selected for production.
The car was launched in India in mid 2012 with its 2.0 litre TDI engine. And soon, in February 2013, the petrol variant of this SUV (2.0 TSI) also reached markets.
A compact SUV, the Q3 measures less than 4.4 metres from its nose to rear and this makes it 250 mm shorter then the Q5. Unlike what some people think, the Q3 is not based on Audi A4’s platform. It is actually shares its basics with the Volkswagen Tiguan – a smaller SUV sold in some other markets around the globe. The engine in Q3 models is transversely mounted and this allows for better interior packaging.
With its neat lines and sharp styling, the Q3 sports all Audi looks. The sleek headlamps have LED daytime running lights and the chrome lined fog lamps on sides of front bumper look attractive. The large trapezoid front grille with the Audi rings gives it a sporty stance. There’s a crease running through the bottom of door panels and a thinner swage line between the headlamps and the tail lights. The roof line slopes markedly towards the ground and the D-posts resemble that of a coupe. At the rear, the triangular LED tail lamps add plenty of style to this SUV’s profile. Additionally, Audi Q3 has slim LED light strips on the rear bumper.
Even if it is the smallest of SUVs in its Q range, the German car maker has not been skimpy on comfort and equipment for Q3’s cabin. Like most tallboy design cars, getting in and out of Audi Q3 is also pretty easy. The roomy interiors of the Audi Q3 complement the external design’s sinewy yet gentle styling. The two tone cabin also has a good share of kit and kaboodle. It has an uncluttered and simple layout as in most other Audi cars. Dark coloured carpeting is a good choice for Q3 in India. Climate control, rake & reach adjustable steering wheel and practically sculpted cubby holes for storage are some standard features.
The front seats can be power adjusted for height and lumbar support. They are large, ergonomic and offer adequate thigh support. The rear visibility however is not very good from the driver’s seat but the reverse parking camera (in high end variants) and those parking sensors prove helpful. With a 6.5 inch centre screen for MID display and steering mounted controls, it is pretty easy to view and toggle through the data.
Both the cars (2.0 TDI and 2.0 TSI) have their engines mated to 7 speed automatic transmission. In October 2013, Audi launched a new ‘S edition’ of diesel Q3 with 6 speed manual gearbox. While the 2 litre petrol engine churns out power of 208 bhp & has 30.6 kgm of torque, the diesel engine has power of 174 bhp and 38.7 kgm of torque.
The list of safety features comprises ESP, ABS, EBD, electronic diff lock, and 8 airbags (6 in S edition).
The fuel efficiency for diesel driven Q3 ranges between 10.5 km/litre (city) to 14 km/litre and for the petrol powered version it is 9 km/litre to 11 km/litre. You can choose this Audi SUV from a range of colours that include Caribou Brown, Amalfi White, Samoa Orange, Phantom Black, Cobalt Blue Metallic and Ice Silver.
Audi has kept a price tag of Rs 24.99 lakh (ex showroom price Delhi) for the manual variant 2.0 TDI (S). The price range for other versions is between Rs 30.46 lakh to Rs 35.85 lakh.
The Q3 was honoured as the most favourite off-road vehicle in ‘crossover category’ by readers of OFF ROAD magazine in February 2012. It also won Urban Car of the Year-BBC Top-Gear Award in 2012, Import SUV of the year - CNBC TV18 Overdrive Award 2012 and CBU SUV of the year-ET ZIGWheels Awards 2012.
Compact dimensions, effortless to drive, strong performer and reasonably priced for a car of its class – Audi Q3 is an SUV that does win many hearts too!