Remember the first compact luxury SUV that came to India? Nope, you’re wrong, it wasn’t the Audi Q3 – but the BMW X1. You see, the X1 was supposed to have first-mover advantage, but it was the Q3 that truly went on to make a mark and ensure that entry-level luxury SUVs became popular amongst Indians. And that’s not all, over the last five years or so, the Audi Q3 has gone on to become a best-seller in its segment.
In the last two years, Audi has given the Q3 a lot of mid-cycle upgrades. On the outside, these changes are hardly noticeable, but it’s what lies under the skin that really matters. The latest addition to the Q3 range is a 1.4-litre petrol motor – yes, we’re seeing a gasoline powered Q3 in India after two years.
Compared to the old 2.0-litre petrol motor, the puny 1.4-litre motor’s specifications are unlikely to set your heart racing. The engine develops a modest 148bhp, along with 250Nm of torque, and comes paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. And, oh, there isn’t any Quattro AWD traction on offer here – power only goes to the front wheels.
If you forget the numbers on its brochure though, and drive it for a bit, you won’t have any complaints whatsoever regarding its performance. The Q3 30 TFSI has adequate grunt on offer, and doesn’t feel strained or underpowered at any time. The dual-clutch gearbox also helps the case here with quick shifts. Sure, you do feel the power tapering off when the tacho needle approaches the red-line, but how often will you do that in real world?
Thanks to its stiffly sprung suspension, the Q3 feels surprisingly planted and confident at the racetrack. With the exception of the Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan, the Q3 was the third fastest SUV in our test this year – beating the likes of the more expensive Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport. Quite a feat, wouldn’t you say?
Having said that, sharp bumps can be unsettling owing to its stiff suspension. The biggest problem, however, is that the Q3 now looks and feels a bit old despite all the cosmetic updates. The next-gen model is due in 2018, and is sure to address all of these issues and bring the Q3 well and truly back in the game.
Explore Audi Q3 technical specifications including dimensions, engines, gearbox, mileage, seating capacity, boot space, etc.
Find out all features available on the Audi Q3 – including safety features, interior equipment, creature comforts, trim versions, etc.