Audi’s Q3 gets a facelift and some more equipment
Words : OusephChacko
Photography: Gaurav S Thombre
It’s raining, so Goa is deserted and beautiful. I used to think otherwise but now I know that the off-season is when you should go there to drive.
That narrow road that you spent last New Year stuck in traffic is empty. It leads to other narrow roads surrounded by lush greenery and, before I forget, I’m here to drive the facelifted Audi Q3.
This new one (that’s what everyone calls a facelift these days) is as accomplished as the one it replaces and then some. So, it comes with the most popular engine in Audi’s range – the 174bhp, 2.0-litre diesel motor (no word on the petrol yet) driving all four wheels via a seven-speed, twin-clutch transmission. It’s a combo that has punch, much like Martin’s pork vindaloo, and will give you no cause for complaint except that the engine gets a bit noisy when you rev it. This new one gets paddleshifters as well.
On a flowing road, the Q3 is fun because it has got good control, lots of grip and the steering is precise and weighty enough to put a smile on your face. And yes, like most Audis, the steering is devoid of feel and isn’t BMW-sharp off center. But unless your weekends involve a six-point harness and a nomex suit, you’re really not going to complain. What it does miss, is some soul. If you’re lucky enough to drive cars like these regularly, you will walk away from the Q3 feeling slightly underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong – the Q3 drives well – it’s just that it isn’t particularly exciting. You won’t complain about the ride though – the ‘rough road’ setup that Audi uses for India works really well over Goa’s monsooned roads. The slight chink in the armour here is that it will thud over sharp edges, but overall it’s supple and comfortable.
Audi knows that most Q3’s are owner driven and this new one focuses on improving that experience. To that extent, it comes with all- black or black-and-beige upholstery and the wood trim on the dash has been replaced by textured aluminium inserts. There’s more equipment too. In this top-spec Premium Plus pack, you get satellite navigation, a 20GB on-board hard drive, a new audio system, a rear-view camera and a panoramic sunroof as standard – all of this for `37.5lakh ex- showroom, Delhi. You can still buy into the Q3 at a much lower `28.9lakh because the base manual Q3 S is still on offer.
On the whole, the Q3 facelift is exactly what you can expect of a German mid-life update – subtly improved looks, more equipment and mild detailing upgrades that keep the car feeling fresh and appealing.