Audi Q3 test drive: A possible chartbuster

Audi Q3 test drive: A possible chartbuster

The styling,more utilitarian than pretty,makes this car look like a proper little off-roader.

There have been quite a few things going in favour of Audi in the Indian luxury car market for the past one year. It has managed to pip its German competitor,Mercedes Benz,which has been in India for over a decade,to third place. Audi has just edged past Mercedes Benz for the first three months of 2012,with BMW still managing to lead the field,albeit by just a whisker. To give you a perspective,BMW India sold 2,369 units while Audi managed 2,269 units,with Mercedes Benz making up the rear with 2,130 units for the first three months of 2012. Now,Audi India has a very interesting launch lined up for June 2012,which is when the Q3 crossover will be the latest addition to the Teuton brand’s luxury crossover line-up. The product will be the German luxury car brand’s least priced offering,aimed at attracting a brand new set of younger buyers. However,the 2012 Audi Q3 is expected to be priced over the BMW X1 crossover X1.

Their message is simple: ‘Start Young. The Audi Q3’. When looking at the Audi Q3,you’re looking at a compact premium SUV that’s urban in character and makes city driving and off-roading equally enjoyable. The review of the car is not complete without throwing it into comparison with BMW X1. The styling,more utilitarian than pretty,makes this car look like a proper little off-roader,instead of what the X1 looks like. Audi has been generous with its basic equipment levels too. In the X1,there are ugly plastic gaps and empty mouldings to remind you of what you couldn’t afford,whereas Audi’s base SE trim level includes rear parking sensors,dual-zone climate control,an electric handbrake and Bluetooth as standard. Q1 has taken styling and detailing features in its interiors from its Q5 and Q7 SUVs,thus having an edge over X1. Prospective buyers and Audi followers would never mind paying that extra bit for extra options in the vehicle.

In a first drive impression organised in Goa,the company created a special track marked by pebbled pathways,slippery terrains and deep potholes for the ultimate off-roading experience. On this track,the Quattro all-wheel drive works full time and requires no driver input. Electronic stability control,or ESC,manages wheel slip by applying the brake at the slipping wheel. The Q3’s electronic stability control system is enhanced with an off-road mode that can be switched on to allow some slip for smooth power delivery on gravel or sandy surfaces. For steep,slippery grades,hill descent control automatically maintains (as long as the tires have traction) a 12-mph speed by applying the brakes to individual wheels without driver input,allowing the driver to concentrate on steering.

Hopes are pinned on the Q3 to enable Audi top the sales chart and become No. 1 in India in the next two years. A little tension of BMW’s future offering might not be as unnerving,but it would have Audi keeping an ear to the ground.

BMW,too,has a big salvo under its belt,one that will be fired in the later part of the year in the form of the all new 2012 F30 BMW 3 series sedan,which has been receiving rave reviews the world over. This car,which will be priced just above the X1 crossover,is one product that could give BMW big volumes in India considering that the F30 3 series is a hugely improved car in every aspect.


Price: R28 lakh-30 lakh (estimated)

Engine : Diesel (2.0 TDI)

Petrol to follow soon