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Driven: updated Audi Q3

Driven November 2014

Driven: updated Audi Q3

Yes, we know there was a new version of the Q3 just a couple of months back. It was called the ‘Dynamic’ Q3. And yes, there’s an upgraded model already. And that’s because this one that you see here has just been revealed at the Paris Motorshow in October and Europe gets it right away. But we will get it only in the second half of next year.

This is not an all-new car. And majority of the things are the same, like the drivetrain, chassis to name a few. But while we say this, let us also tell you that the engine the gearbox, though the same, get few tweaks to make it more efficient and friendlier to the nature.

In Europe, the Q3 gets quite a few engine options – the 1.4 turbo-petrol, 2-litre turbo-petrol and 2-litre turbo-diesel in two sets of tune. India, just like the current Q3, will get only the diesel-powered Q3.

The one we have here is the 2.0 TDI that develops 181bhp and 380Nm of twist. With the slight tweaking by the German engineers, the engine makes a couple of horses more. To be nicer to the polar bears, the new Audi engines now have an intelligent cylinder deactivation system – it switches off a cylinder when there’s no need of all the power, and thus saves a bit of fossil fuel.

The engine is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that directs the power to all four wheels. This engine is not a kind that has no turbo-lag. It’s quite sluggish at the lower end. But this dual-clutch tranny does a good of job of hiding the blemishing character of the engine. As a result of this combo, the Q3 feels responsive and eager at most times.

The Q3 that we drove in Europe came with a suspension setup that was tuned for smoother, pothole-free roads. With that, we mean stiffer struts. But by the time it comes to India, things will soften up to take the abuse of the battered road. And yes, it will have optional active dampers to suit your driving style.

In the handling department, the earlier Q3 wasn’t as sharp as the GLA. This one too isn’t. But the thing that works in the new one’s favour is a heavier steering that isn’t as vague as the earlier.

On the exterior, the biggest change is at the front with an altered grille, restyled headlamps and bumper. Xenon headlamps are now standard where as LED turn indicators and tail-lamps are an optional extra. Inside, too the changes are subtle and the Q3 continues to have most features, such as auto headlamps and wipers, electric seats and MMI infotainment system, as standard.

The new Q3 is expected to come to India in the second half of this year and will be available in 6-speed manual and 7-speed auto versions. We expect the prices to see just a nominal increase with prices starting at about ₹32 lakh and going up to ₹36 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi).

The numbers
1968cc, 4 cyl, turbo-diesel, 181bhp, 380Nm, 7A, AWD, 0-100kph (claimed): 7.9 seconds, kerb weight: 1625kg, ₹36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

The verdict
The Q3 offers efficient yet peppy engine, a nice gearbox, a good ride and handling blend, lots of interior space, and now with a new design, things have livened up even more

Agasti Kaulgi

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