2015 Audi Q3 (facelift) – First Drive Review
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Audi India’s best selling ‘Q’ model, the Q3 has just been launched in its facelifted avatar on June 18. The Audi Q3 facelift gets cosmetic and feature changes, but thankfully its mechanicals remain the same as the outgoing car. Here’s our quick drive review of the Q3 facelift –
Designers have focussed primarily on the front end, which gets Audi’s new Singleframe grille, a redesigned bumper and optional LED headlights. The pre-facelift Q3 itself was a handsome looking car, but the 2015 model, thanks primarily to the new grille, lends a much grown up look, inline with the new Audi Q7.
Over to the sides, Audi’s smallest SUV gets new 17-inch Y-shaped alloy wheels. Three new color choices have also been introduced on the 2015 Q3. The rear sports minimalist changes in that the light clusters now get dynamic turn indicators.
Overall, the updated exterior of the Q3 facelift is certain to get more attention than the pre-facelift model.
The interior of the Q3 facelift remains unchanged save for minor feature and trim updates. New aluminium inlays are found on the dashboard and door pads, while the top-end variant gets paddle-shifters, MMI-integrated navigation, a reverse camera, 20 GB of internal storage in the MMI system, 2 SDHC card slots, and a nifty phone-pad.
By placing your mobile phone on this pad, the antenna of the Q3 helps in signal reception of your mobile phone, and thereby claims to increase your phone’s battery life.
There are no other changes to the interior, which is otherwise well built, and ergonomic.
Engine and Gearbox:
There are absolutely no changes to this department. The 2015 Q3 continues to be powered by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI engine capable of 177 bhp and 380 Nm of torque. It is paired to a 7-speed S-tronic transmission with the drive going to all wheels via Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. Audi India also offers the Q3 S, which gets a front wheel drive layout, a 6-speed manual transmission and a detuned version of the 2.0-liter TDI engine (140 bhp).
The 2.0-liter 177 bhp unit is a capable performer, accelerating the compact SUV from 0-100 km/h in 8.2 seconds. The only grouse with this powertrain is that sometimes, downshifts take a prodding of the accelerator, and are a bit jerky. On the Q3 facelift though, you can work around this using the paddle shifters, though we would have liked the gearbox to be a tad more responsive.
Audi has made no changes to the suspension or steering setup of the Q3 facelift. What you get is a pliant and comfortable car over most terrains, though enthusiasts may not revel in the light steering feel, especially around dead center. The top-end variant of the Q3 facelift gets the Audi Drive Select program, which allows the driver to choose between three driving modes – Comfort, Auto and Sport. The Sport mode reasonably firms up the steering wheel without having any nasty surprises on ride comfort.
The Q3 facelift claims an ARAI-rated figure of 15.73 km/l. Our drive through Goan roads saw the off-roader consistently return over 10 km/l.
With the launch of the Q3 facelift, prices have also gone up. The Q3 S is now priced at INR 28.99 lakhs, ex-Showroom, New Delhi (it was launched in 2013 at 24.99 lakhs), while the regular variants with the S-Tronic gearbox and AWD cost between INR 33.99 lakhs and INR 37.5 lakhs, ex-Showroom, New Delhi.
The Q3 facelift competes with the Mercedes GLA and the BMW X1. Audi is right in saying that the Q3 is the only vehicle in its class to come with an AWD system, as the X1 is based on the older E90 3 Series’s rear wheel drive system, while the GLA is based on the MFA front-wheel drive architecture. The Quattro, as we know it, is a capable performer and despite not having high-end AWD features, can take the Q3 to places the other two dare not go.
The highlight 4WD functionality aside, the Q3 facelift comes across as the well-packaged entry-level luxury SUV that earned its predecessor a fan following, and got the brand new audience. It is for the same reasons that we would continue to pick the Q3 facelift over its rivals.
While some argue that Audi has made minimal changes to the Q3, why change something that isn’t broken?