The Everyday Muscle
When I got a call from Audi to come and experience the all-new Q3, it was not a question of if, but a matter of when. Audi has, through the years, maintained pedigree of superb engineering seamlessly infused with DNA of irresistible style. When the news of the all-new Q3 came about, I was curious to know whether the pedigree and DNA had been carried forward. And man, was I surprised!
At First Glance
Even before you step into the car, there are some marked changes that scream for attention. Tailgates have been given a characteristic wrap-around treatment. The front grille is Singleframe and gives a meaty look from the word go. The car has a wider, lower appearance that gives it the look of a hunting cat getting ready to pounce–impressive! On the inside, shiny chrome streaks have been used adequately to get your second (and third, fourth) glances. Leather and plastic have been used exquisitely to maintain the luxury feel. Need further pampering? Interior lighting is pure LED and power-adjustable front seats (that’s a first in Q3). It’s also loaded with MMI Navigation System, which impressed beyond compare. I put it to good use in the back-of-beyond forgettable winding roads of south Goa and not once did I take a wrong turn or hit a dead-end. One can only fathom how well the busy metros have been mapped. Music for me forms an inseparable part of an excellent driving experience and I could not wait to put the Q3 in the ignition and tinker with the barrage of buttons to get the boombox thumping. Internal storage of 20GB is practical and adequate and so are other ways to plug in an external source of your favourite tracks. Bang & Olufsen audio system is divine and transcendental.
Engine And Drive
The new Audi Q3 continues with the same engine that it has previously housed, which belts out 177hp with the help of a seven-speed S Tronic transmission. The car also sports, for the first time, paddle gear shifts for the manual option, which I loved for its sheer spunkiness. Nimble and responsive, a manual option was found to be far more tempting than the automatic choices that you may make. After shifting it in ‘D’ and letting it roll, the car was expectantly behaving itself on the snaking alleys of old Goa. Come Panjim and open roads, I did what any gearhead would do… floored the pedal–and got slapped by a bit of disappointment. For a car that is armed to the teeth with 130kw, 177hp engine, I expected a cheetah on four wheels. But what I got was a leisurely canter. The car seemed to take a long, deep breath before launching itself. Fine! Maybe the dynamic mode was not cutting it. I slipped it into ‘Sports’ and saw the RPMs, even in idle, go to uncomfortable levels. Stepped on the gas and the same response. Don’t get me wrong–it was super smooth and agile to get off the grid, but that momentary hesitation was painting the wrong picture. Git it back to Manual and she (Q3) and I patched up things real quick.
The all-new Audi Q3 is a big step up from the older one in every sense. Exteriors, interiors and features. It makes for a perfect city car for just about any chore that you have lined up for it. Features galore, it exists to please. And yes, if you’re wondering whether the Audi oomph is there… fret not. There’s oodles of it!