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Audi Q3
    Change Model
Customer Rating
: 4/5
Expert Rating
: 8/10
Warranty
: 2 Yrs / Unlimited kms (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
Delhi
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
    Change City
34.73 Lakhs-42.88 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Snob value
  • Good fuel- efficiency 
  • Affordable luxury SUV
  • Excellent aerodynamics
  • Great ride and handling characteristics 

Weak Areas

  • Cabin space at a premium
  • Surprisingly absent all wheel drive
  • Low equipment levels for its price tag
  • Compromised peak power, performance
  • Transmission response not upto Audi standard

 

Audi Q3
 
 

Expert Review Audi Q3 S

The new member of the Audi Q3 family is a manual and front wheel drive variant that feels well customised for driving enthusiasts.


Author

By

ecardlr.com National

Audi launched a customised, pared down version of its entry level SUV - Q3 - in 2013. Priced to be an aggressive competitor for BMW X1 (and also to challenge Mercedes A series hatch), the Q3 S is powered by 1968 cc 4 cylinder common rail direct injection turbo diesel engine. It is mated to 6 speed manual transmission and there’s a front wheel drive unlike the rest of Q3 Quattro (and more expensive) family. What’s more, it is assembled locally at Audi’s Aurangabad plant to keep the costs low. 
 
The CBU imported diesel engine model of Q3 has 178 bhp and 38.7 kgm torque but Audi used a detuned version of the same unit for the manual transmission trim. And so the 2 litre engine that powers Q3 S Manual churns out 140 bhp and 32.6 kgm torque. 
 
The use of front wheel drive layout has helped in reduction of Q3's weight by 140 kgs and this should give a boost to its performance. Ecardlr reviewed the new SUV and has a comprehensive analysis of its features, performance, ride & handling to delve into its overall competence:
 
Exteriors 
 
To keep the costs down while also retaining the distinctive features of the car, Audi has done a subtle job on the design for stripped down version of Q3 S. The hexagonal chrome grille in front has a new design pattern with vertical struts. Headlamps for this trim do not have those stylish daytime running lights. Furthermore, instead of flashy xenon, Q3 headlamps comprise twin barrel halogen cluster. Chrome bezel fog lamps are provided on the sides of front bumper. In essence, the Q3 S does look like a premium Audi SUV and not quite a low cost version of the original car. Black side skirts and wheel arch surrounds are standard once again. Brushed aluminium roof rails and black alloy wheels exude a sporty feel. It is 235/50 R16 size for the tyres and a spare wheel is provided. Body coloured ORVMs continue to have side turn indicators. 
Elongated tail lights on the boot lid are also deprived of LEDs but look smart with their usual design. The black cladding along with silver trim on rear bumper complements the body colour well and also adds to Q3’s sporty appeal. The double tipped diffuser is similar to the one on other Q3s. 
 
Even after doing away with those smart LEDs, the German luxury car maker has not stripped manual Q3 variant of its stylish aesthetic features and the SUV looks appealing as an entry level European luxury car. 
 
Interiors 
 
Q3 S is a compact sports utility vehicle with a wheelbase of 2603 mm and so the cabin is certainly not as roomy as other Audis – the legroom and headroom is adequate though not for very tall people, especially at the rear. However when compared to new A Class hatch by Mercedes, the cabin feels spacious. Furthermore, seat comfort continues to impress. They are well cushioned and have an ergonomic stance for back support. The driver’s seat is power adjustable for height and lumbar support. Front passenger seat comes with convenience of manual adjustment. There is an appropriately positioned broad centre armrest for front seat occupants. Door pockets are large enough to hold 1 litre bottles and knick knacks. 
 
        
 
There is nothing quite special about the styling although the build quality is admirable. Faux brushed aluminium inlays highlight the dashboard and centre console. Only black and silver are used for sporty aesthetics and you won’t find those elegant wooden wedges on door sills or transmission tunnel. The 6.5 inch MMI slide-out screen stands behind the central AC vents on the dash. Bluetooth connectivity, and entertainment system comprising radio, CD/MP3 player are provided. Navigation feature is missing on MMI and there is no Aux input with Q3. MMI controls are stacked vertically down the dashboard instead of their usual position behind the gear lever. Steering mounted audio controls are provided as a comfort attribute. Instead of automatic climate control, Q3 S gets manual air conditioning for its cabin. Even if Audi has cut on some comfort and styling features, the quality of materials is refined and does not reflect cost cutting. This Q3 is equipped with rear view sensors for ease of parking and cruise control is also offered as a standard feature. 
 
There is no centre armrest at back and this will cause some owners to grumble considering this is a ‘premium German SUV’. Sun roof is not provided. On the practical front, you get 460 litres of space in the luggage compartment and this increases to 1365 litres when the 60:40 seats are pushed down. 
 
With regards to safety attributes, Audi equips the Q3 S with four air bags, hill start assist, anti lock braking system, differential lock, electronic brakeforce distribution, and traction control. 
 
Engine, Transmission and Performance 
 
Audi Q3 S is primarily differentiated by its manual transmission and clutch pedal. How does the detuned 2 litre diesel engine perform with these changes? At idling there is an obvious murmur of diesel but sound insulation is good and so it does not really feel noisy if you have the windows rolled up. Pressing down the light clutch pedal and engaging first gear results in smooth clutch action. The gear shifts continue to be smooth and you will find the Audi SUV quite simple, nay, enjoyable to drive in its manual avatar. Dealing with stop and go city traffic is also easy.
And there is nothing to be disappointed about the detuned engine because it still has adequate power and makes the SUV enjoyable to drive on highways. Also, that torque of 32.6 kgm comes at as low as 1750 rpm and keeps the engine spirited till 2500 rpm. 
 
At 1445 kg of kerb weight this variant of Q3 is 140 kg lighter than its Quattro siblings – another factor that adds to its strong performance. The 0-100 km/hour dash takes 9.9 seconds which is just 1.6 seconds less than that of Q3s with automatic transmission. If you evaluate it against the likes of Mercedes A 180 and BMW 118 d, the performance is quite at par. However, the in gear acceleration is little sluggish as compared to these rivals. For instance, being driven in the third gear, Q3 takes 9.78 seconds to reach from 20 to 80 km/hour while the 1 Series takes only 5.39 seconds for the same feat. 
 
              
 
The slick, light and positive manual transmission tempts you to shift gears just to perk up the action on clear, stretched highways. 
 
Driving enthusiasts won’t really miss the Quattro four wheel drive because the Q3 S continues to be an energetic performer. It has sufficient power and leaps ahead at the tap of throttle. Overtaking too does not leave the engine gasping for breath. 
 
Ride and Handling 
 
Ride quality on good roads or roads with minor undulations is absorbent and flat. It only gets better with increase in speed. You won’t miss the all wheel drive traction of Quattros. But once again the underlying stiffness of ride and low profile tyres show their poor side on broken tarmac. Audi Q3 S starts feeling uneasy on roads with bumps and rough patches. The jerks resulting on big potholes can really disturb its cabin occupants. Keeping up the speed on poor roads is not feasible and Q3 S is not a serious off roader. To offset the height disadvantage and to achieve superior dynamics Audi equipped the Q3 with stiffer suspension. On a positive note, the Q3’s stability at speeds is reassuring and there is ample grip on average roads. With flat ride and refined diesel engine, the car also masks high speeds decently. 
 
In terms of handling, driving enthusiasts will feel bit disappointed with the steering that lacks feel and feedback. Of course the light steering is a boon for city driving – maneuvering this SUV through traffic and parking lots is so easy. It also offers good responses on winding roads. But it is on high speeds that the lack of feedback gets annoying. If only Audi had engineered the steering to weigh up more with the upward motion of speedo needle!
 
            
 
The Q3 S feels enthusiastic around the corners and the grippy tyres continue to hold on to tarmac well. The ESP takes care of the rest and so an average driver will not really lose control. On the limits, there is some understeer in a progressive and predictable manner. General road behaviour is more like sedan than a heavy SUV. 
 
There are disc brakes on all four wheels (ventilated discs at front) and braking ability is admirable with short stopping distances. Anti lock braking system, EBD and emergency brake assist system add to the efficiency – Q3 S maintains its composure under hard braking conditions too. 
 
Fuel Economy 
 
Diesel driven Audi Q3 S being a manual transmission variant performs little better than its 4WD siblings in this category. While the company claimed fuel efficiency is 17.3 km/hour (which is achievable on some good highways), the derived range under varying traffic and road conditions falls between 10 km/litre and 13.5 km/litre.  
 
Verdict 
 
At a price of Rs 25.55 lakhs (ex showroom price Delhi), the Q3 S offers almost everything that an Indian customer expects from a compact SUV. This manual variant, front-wheel drive package comes with some nice tech toys, has comfortable seats and is enjoyable to drive being a manual variant. It may not be an expert off roader but does impress with its performance on clear roads and as a safe, everyday city car. 
 
Comfort: 4/5
 
Refinement: 3.5/5
 
Safety: 4/5
 
Ride: 3.5/5
 
Handling: 4/5
 
Value for Money: 3.5/5

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