New Audi Q3 SUV review, driving: performance, specs, engine, pricing details
The second-gen Q3 is more adult and comes with a much better cabin.
Small is beautiful. It’s also manageable. Especially in central London where you have to tackle narrow lanes and navigate a maze of roadworks and diversions with one eye on Google Maps and the other on the road. The fact that the Audi Q3 I drive is nice and compact, has a high seating position and good all-around visibility certainly helped. As an urban luxury SUV, the Q3 is just the right size if you’re mainly going to be driving, which is why it was quite popular in India until Audi discontinued it in early 2020.
And now, after a long gap of two years and a bit, Audi has finally brought the Q3 back to India, with prices ranging from Rs 44.89 lakh for the entry-level Premium Plus version and Rs 50.39 lakh for more efficient technology. trim. The second-generation Q3, built on the MQB platform, was launched internationally in 2019, so it didn’t arrive a day too soon at an Indian showroom. Why then has it taken Audi so long to bring in a car that’s nearly halfway through its life cycle? Blame it on COVID-19, a shortage of semiconductors, delays in global rollout, or the fact that Audi India has spent the past few years systematically streamlining its model lineup that put Q3, well, the last in the queue.
The Q3 completes the Q range in India and completes the portfolio on the affordable side. The Q2 has long been discontinued and so, in effect, the Q3 is the entry point for Audi’s SUV lineup in India. In fact, it’s the cheapest Audi you can buy.
New Audi Q3: exterior
The new Q3 sports a more aggressive design compared to its predecessor.
The new Q3 is very different from the previous Q3, both inside and out, and it’s also a little bigger. So, let’s start with the size. The new Q3 is almost 10cm longer than the previous model and while that may not seem like much, most of that length has gone into making the cabin longer to free up more space for passengers.
Boot space has increased significantly to 530 litres, which is 70 liters more than before, so that’s an extra bag you can squeeze in. You can slide the 60:40 split rear seat forward to free up even more boot space, but that only makes sense if there’s no one in the backseat.
The new Q3 boasts of an increased boot volume of 530 litres.
The design is more aggressive than before and draws on many styling cues from the larger SUVs in Audi’s lineup. The headlights, for example, are inspired by the Q8 flagship and unlike the simple rectangular shape of the previous Q, the new model’s LED lights are distinctly cut and appear more complex.
Audi’s signature hexagonal grille is now wider, single-framed and flanked by wide, angular ‘air intakes’ (these are mostly empty), giving the Q3 much-needed road presence and the driving stance. a larger SUV.
Slim taillights accentuate the width of the car.
Audi has also brightened up the flanks of the new Q3. The previous car had a simple side crease, but the new car has a more pronounced shoulder and a muscular rear fender which, together with 18-inch alloys, gives the Q3 a solid, planted stance. Slender taillights accentuate the width of the car and are fitted with dynamic indicators as standard across the range.
New Audi Q3: interior, features
The cabin is also a big improvement over the last Q3 and more in line with current Audi models. They’re all screens now with a 10.25-inch “virtual cockpit” or configurable digital instrument cluster and a 10.1-inch screen for the infotainment system. Since Audi’s move to a fully touch-sensitive cabin for all of its cars, the MMI, or selector wheel that lets you physically select functions, has been replaced by a touchpad and that’s a shame.
The second-generation Q3 gets 10.25-inch digital dials.
It was a very well-developed interface that let you switch between functions without taking your eyes off the road. The good thing is that the physical buttons for the climate controls have been retained and not buried in the touchscreen, which is the trend these days.
The physical controls of the HVAC have been retained.
For its compact dimensions, the Q3 is surprisingly spacious inside and can accommodate four adults quite easily. You sit upright and despite a lack of width in the comfortable cabin, you don’t feel cramped or cramped. The cabin is well designed and up there with the bigger Audis and the good thing is you’re not shortchanged on quality standards just because you’re paying less for a smaller car.
Compact dimensions, but can easily accommodate four adults.
There is no shortage of storage space inside the cabin. You get large door bins, a large cubbyhole in the center console and a wireless charger to take the biggest smartphone. And if you’re sitting in the back, you can easily stow your phone or a few small trinkets in one of the cleverly designed slots on either side of the back seat.
Clever slots at the back for storing knick-knacks.
New Audi Q3: performance
The new Q3 handles like a typical Audi. The steering is light and easy, the ride is superbly damped and it flows happily through the thick of traffic whether in town or on the highway in a thankfully benign way without exciting or engaging the driver. The ride was particularly good on UK roads and although this is not the environment in which to draw conclusions about ride comfort, from our experience with the latest generation Audi SUV we can safely say that the Q3 might be the smoothest SUV in its class.
The Indian-spec Q3 gets Audi’s proven 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine.
It was also impossible to judge the Q3’s engine and performance as the test car we drove in London was a plug-in hybrid, powered by a 1.4-litre petrol mill mated to an electric motor. On the contrary, driving in all-electric mode around London only reaffirmed my faith in hybrid technology as a good bridge to all-electric. The Indian government doesn’t have the same faith, and so hybrids don’t have subsidies and are taxed as heavily as regular ICE cars, which is why Audi sees no benefit in bringing hybrids to India.
What the Indian Q3 will get instead is the proven 190hp 2-litre TFSI engine, which is the base petrol engine in Audi’s lineup. Factor in a favorable power-to-weight ratio (the Q3 weighs just 1,700kg) and the Q3 could also be one of the fastest SUVs in its class. The discontinued Q2 had the same engine and was absolutely brilliant to drive and the new Q3 could take on the role of the most fun-to-drive compact luxury SUV. We just can’t wait to drive it.