Audi Q3 Drive Review — Exterior, Interior, Drive Performance
In this Audi Q3 petrol review, we’ll examine the exterior, interior and drive performance of the small luxury SUV. We hope this information helps you make an informed decision about buying Audi’s entry-level luxury SUV. Let’s start with the exterior details of the Audi Q3.
The length of the new Audi Q3 is marginally less than 4.5m, making it a C-segment luxury car according to our internal classification. We drove the top-spec Technology variant of the Q3, and there are no cosmetic differences between this and the lower Premium Plus variant.
As for the frontal design, the Q3's large octagonal grille stands out, with a thick outline in an aluminium finish and vertical slats in the same finish. Like many modern cars, the Q3 does not have fog lights, but the traditional fog lamp housing around it has aluminium finish detailing, and there is additional detailing on the front lip. In addition to the front parking sensors, the Q3 also features dual-function LED turn indicators and dual-chamber headlamps with LED lights as the source.
Moving to the side, the wheel arch cladding of the Q3 is body-coloured rather than black plastic, giving it a more urban and less rugged appearance. The Q3 comes with 18-inch, 5-spoke alloy wheels, and its tyres are big enough to properly fill the wheel arches. The Q3 also features roof rails, a shark-fin antenna, rear disc brakes and wraparound tail lamps with an attractive pattern visible from the side.
The two-part tail lamps also integrate LED turn indicators and look stylish. Thanks to the thick rear bumper and the design of the boot lid, which includes a licence plate, the Q3 has an upright appearance from the rear. The cladding on the rear bumper is also body-coloured, and it features a dual-exhaust design that lends a sporty vibe to the car. It is worth noting that the Q3 does have dual exhausts, but they are hidden underneath.
The powered bootlid of the Q3 can also be opened with a foot gesture, and it offers 530 litres of space, which should be enough to carry the weekend luggage for 4 occupants. There is an 18-inch space saver spare tyre underneath the boot floor, along with space to keep tools and pockets to keep a puncture repair kit. In addition, there are two side pockets, a 12V socket, lights and a parcel tray in the boot. The Q3's rear seat is split 40:20:40, providing additional flexibility for certain kind of luggage.
Overall, the exterior design of the second-generation Q3 is sharp and more modern than before. Let's take a look at the interior now.
In Audi Q3, the dashboard is primarily black, but there is an option to choose between brown and beige upholstery. The car we drove had beige upholstery with a matching door armrest.
The dashboard design of the Q3 is layered and its top layer is made from a soft-touch material. The middle layer is mostly aluminium and has a glossy black finish, while the third and lowest layer is a combination of soft-touch and hard black plastic.
In terms of quality, the centre tunnel is sturdy, and the fitment of the glove box lid is satisfactory. The glovebox is felt-lined, and in addition to the owner’s manual, a water bottle can easily fit inside.
When it comes to storage, there are spacious pockets in both front doors, and there is open storage under the armrest. In front of the centre tunnel, there are two cup holders along with standing phone storage, key storage and a wireless phone charger in front of the gear lever, which has two USB-C ports.
Just above the centre tunnel console, there are shortcut switches for drive mode select, stability control, engine start/stop and parking camera and above them are audio volume and ignition controls. It would have been better if there were some additional controls here as it seems like this space is left blank for something else.
Moving up, there are controls for air con vents, and in the middle layer of the dashboard, there is a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system tilting slightly towards the driver. It's not just the touchscreen, but the entire part is angled towards the driver. From the driver's perspective, it feels good to have all the controls focused towards you.
The driver can easily access the music system with the steering-mounted controls, and there is also an option to access the digital instrument cluster from the steering wheel. Like other Audi cars, the Q3's full-colour LCD instrument cluster is informative and you can even have a full-screen navigation map here.
The driver seat has a good size and cushioning. The view out from here is decent, but its bonnet is sloping, so you can't see it very well unless you raise the seat's height significantly. The driver's seat has electric adjustment, but without memory. In addition to this, notable features from the driver's perspective include a height-adjustable front armrest, auto-dimming inside mirror, sunroof, paddle shifters and tilt/telescopic steering adjustment. The Q3's cabin also has multi-colored ambient lighting, but it's not very visible during the daytime and it glows only when the headlamps are on and not otherwise.
Moving to the rear seat, ingress is comfortable, and egress is particularly easy thanks to the appropriate height of the rear seat base. Sitting inside and with the front seat set to a comfortable position for a 5-feet 8-inch driver, there is enough knee room and useful space below the front seat to slide your feet. For someone as tall as myself, the headroom is decent, and in general, there is a feeling of spaciousness in this car. The rear seat's base and back are both comfortable and there is an armrest as well. I wish the armrest were a little higher.
In the exterior section of this review, we mentioned that the rear seat back is 40:20:40 split but the base is only split 60:40. So, you can also slide it to the front or rear. The recline angle of the seat is also adjustable with the strap on the side, but it isn’t much. So, I think the rear seat slide and recline adjustment is mainly for a flexible boot space and not for the rear passenger comfort.
Anyway, from the rear passenger's perspective, I found the seat side tray useful — you can keep items like your phone or wallet in it. In terms of storage, both rear doors have pockets, there are nets on the front seat backs and cupholders in the armrest. In addition, notable features are the rear AC vents, rear reading lights and panoramic sunroof.
I felt the need for rear phone charging ports — particularly because we think the rear seat is also comfortable for adults. Overall, I didn't find the Q3's cabin visually very upmarket, but it is comfortable and feels spacious — so much so that I wouldn't mind sitting in the rear of this car occasionally. Alright, now let's talk about how it drives.
The Q3 comes with only a 2.0-liter turbo petrol engine in the Q3, which produces a maximum power of 190PS and a peak torque of 320Nm. Audi claim a 0-100kmph time of 7.3 seconds for the Q3 petrol. During the brief test, the Q3 easily achieved 0-100kmph in 8 seconds in Comfort mode with fully automatic gear shifting, which is not too far from the claimed figure. The Q3 feels quick and pushing it gives a satisfying driving experience. The transmission shifts quickly and smoothly adding to the overall relaxing drive experience.
The ride quality of the Q3 is comfortable and it feels at ease on unpaved rural roads as well as regular city streets. The ground clearance of the Q3 is confidence-inspiring and the 4-wheel-drive Quattro technology ensures control in all situations.
The Q3 comes with an auto start/stop system, which improves its efficiency. During a relaxed 30km city drive with moderate Delhi traffic, it indicated a fuel efficiency of around 12kmpl. So, it is expected to deliver at least 10kmpl in most situations in the long run.
The Q3 has multiple drive modes and features such as paddle shifters, which are useful from a driving perspective. Due to time constraints, these features were not tested during the brief review. Overall, the Q3 is a comfortable and confidence-inspiring car to drive, whether in the city or on the highway
Some features that come in the Q3 are so important that you should know about them, and we haven't covered them in this review yet. These include 4-wheel-drive tech, electronic stability control, side and curtain airbags, panoramic sunroof, lumbar support for front seats, rear parking camera, 2-zone auto AC, cruise control, multiple drive modes, auto-dimming IRVM, auto-dimming and heated ORVMs, 6-speaker audio system and hill start assist.
For a car that costs over Rs. 50.0 lakh ex-showroom, in our opinion, features such as a 360-degree parking camera, ventilated seats, memory for the driver's seat, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear window curtains, and rear phone charging ports should also be present. Let's now summarise this review so that it's easier for you to make a decision.
Q3 is available in 2 variants, Premium Plus and Technology. The price of the Premium Plus variant is Rs. 44.89 lakh and Technology is Rs. 50.39 lakh (ex-showroom).
The only downside we see in this car is that its interior doesn't give an upmarket vibe according to its price. Otherwise, Q3 is a driver-centric car, and that is evident from how the interior is designed and the performance it offers. So it can easily be your secondary car for daily commute if you drive to work yourself.
But we also realised that two adults can comfortably travel in its rear seat, so it can take 4 people on a long drive without any problem. So, if you are planning to buy an entry-level luxury SUV for your family, you can consider the Q3.
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