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Audi Q3 review
Driven April 2012
You've seen plenty of Audi Q7s thanks to Bollywood and you've also seen its smaller sibling - the Q5. But now Audi wants you to see their new Q3. It may be the smallest of the range but that doesn't mean it's any less intimidating.
The Q3 looks bigger than the Beemer X1 and definitely has more street presence, which is always a good thing. It will be available in both petrol and diesel options eventually, but at launch only the diesel option will be sold, and that's the option we've driven.
Power comes from the popular 2.0-litre TDI unit that also does duty on the Q5 and even on the A4. It puts out 175bhp and 350Nm of torque. It comes mated to a brilliant seven-speed dual clutch S tronic transmission. Out on the road, the Q3 is eager once past 2000rpm and has a good midrange. Refinement is good for most parts, but you can hear the drone when you push it. Even though there is a bit of lag below 2000rpm, the quick gearbox however, manages to hide most of it.
The BMW X1 believes customers are never going to go offroad. But Audi on the other hand, wants to give you the full experience. There's even a nice little Quattro badge on the grille to re-enforce that notion. Not that it will be a competition to the Freelander anytime soon, as the Q3 is more of a road-going machine that will do the occasional dirt road. And on the road is where it really does impress. The suspension pummels potholes without fuss and you can take corners without flinching. Steering feel is average like most Audis, but they do seem to be improving. Is a little more feedback too much to ask for? It makes for the perfect long distance cruiser or your weekend getaway vehicle.
The Q3 is great to live with too. Quality levels are just as good as its big brothers and equipment list is long enough too. But we can't understand why you don't get an auto dimming mirror and a rear centre armrest. Seats are comfortable and there's enough legroom, even in the back. Boot is big enough for your holiday. If you need more, the seats will flip down for 1165-litres of space.
Prices are yet to be announced and but you could expect a range of Rs 30-35 lakh for the diesel. And the petrol could be even cheaper. Audi says they have the likes of the Freelander in their sights, but if we were the X1, we would be sweating a bit.