Audi Q3 Dynamic Review
Car Tested: Audi Q3 Dynamic
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 47,11,540/-
The Audi Drive Select system is the main selling point of the new Q3 Dynamic variant
It is interesting to see how Audi entered the Indian car market in 2007 and within no time became one of the most desired and sought-after premium brand. Initially, their portfolio had abundant range of cars for the silk-stocking but now they have offerings such as the Q3 and A3 for a wider audience. The Q3 is the largest selling Audi and interestingly the market leader in the luxury compact SUV segment. Now it’s that time of the year in India when people don’t bother to gauge the money they spend and Audi has introduced a new range-topping variant for the baby Q at the right time. The Audi Q3 Dynamic comes with some advanced equipment and cosmetic updates for the buyers to give a premium and sporty option in the Q3 range. We drive it around dynamic terrain and find out what’s new and whether it lives up to the ‘Dynamic’ moniker or not.
Exteriors – There are subtle yet drastic changes on the Audi Q3 Dynamic. Subtle because anyone would be able to tell that it’s a Q3, there are no sheet metal changes or revised character lines. Drastic because there is a noticeable bling on this range-topping variant that is more apparent at the rear. At the front, you get a full chrome grille and silver skid plate along with rugged black material for the lower section of the bumper so that you don’t panic while off-roading. On the side profile you see a new set of rich 17-inch 5-spoke Trias design alloys and at the back the Audi Q3 Dynamic features sci-fi themed clear lens LED tail lights that look really sharp and attractive. Again at the lower half of the bumper you get black cladding with silver skid plate and peeping out dual exhaust pipes. The Q3 is not a full grown SUV but some styling cues trickling down from the elder Q siblings makes it look like one, at least the stance is SUVish and it has good presence on the road. You can also see the new badging that we first saw on the A3, our test car came with 35 TDI badging for the 2.0-litre diesel unit with higher state of tune.
Interiors – Just like the changes on the exteriors, the Audi Q3 Dynamic gets a similar cabin but with slightly more premium touch now and added convenient features. The dual-tone dashboard looks upmarket with brushed aluminium accents and new walnut brown wood inlays, which is exclusive to this trim. The centre console remains the same that comes with Audi MMI system and retractable 5.8-inch screen with comprehensive connectivity options including Bluetooth with music streaming. The updated audio system with 10-speakers and a sub-woofer churns out stimulating acoustics. The Drive Select button for toggling between Comfort, Dynamic and Auto is placed just above the climate control panel and you can also select the modes via the MMI system or the well finished multi-function leather wrapped steering. We would have appreciated some sporty or distinct changes on the interiors of the Dynamic variant for more drama inside the cabin. However, the huge panoramic sunroof adds to the feel-good factor.
Quality, fit and finish is exactly what we expect from the overlapping four ringed badge. Both the front seats are electrically adjustable with 4-way lumbar support. The flexibility of seats is impressive and practical for both short and tall drivers. The seats are supportive with adequate padding, back and thigh support. The legroom for rear passengers is limited though and third person in the middle would be uncomfortable because of the high floor hump and no thigh support. Headroom is decent and rear AC vents along with 12V socket keep things convenient at the back but a rear armrest is sorely missed at least on the most expensive version of the Audi Q3. Also, we found manually adjustable day/night rear view mirror strange at this price point and no rear parking camera is shocking but thankfully there are front and rear proximity sensors. 460 litres boot capacity is accommodating, which is flexible to 1365 litres by folding down the seats.
Performance – Powering the Audi Q3 Dynamic is a 2.0-litre diesel engine that produces 177 HP of power at 4200 RPM and 380 Nm of torque between 1750-2500 RPM. This oil burner is quite refined and produces more than enough power for the Q3 that makes the driving experience effortless. The low-end torque is decent with negligible turbo lag but the meaty mid-range catapults the Q3 forward with a strong shove. The motor doesn’t feel strained while redlining too and it makes a sporty sound as the revs start building. We drove the Q3 Dynamic on the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore and never did we feel that the Q3 lacks punch, it just pulls eagerly and is quite fast.
The strong mid-range makes the Audi Q3 plunge forward with good thrust
Mated to this engine is a 7-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission that is super quick, responsive and fuel efficient. It has three modes – D, S and manual. The smart gearbox reads the throttle input and consequently changes gears. If there is a slight tap on the throttle while cruising, it changes gears as early as 1500 RPM. Half throttle input holds the gear a tad longer or downshifts if it is cruising in higher gear. Mash the throttle down and it holds the gear till the redline. S mode is performance oriented that always changes gears at the higher end of the rev range. Manual keeps things under your control and is quite fun but paddle shifts are missing on the Q3. The Comfort and Dynamic modes modulate the engine and gearbox. In Comfort mode, the power delivery is relaxed while the gear changes are smooth and seamless. The Dynamic mode makes it more responsive and sprightly. The Auto mode detects the input of steering, speed, throttle, etc. to switch between Comfort and Dynamic on the go. Audi claims an ARAI fuel efficiency of 15.73 km/l but you should expect it to return 9-11 km/l in real world conditions.
Driving Dynamics – The most significant change or the change that has led to a tad expensive price tag of the Audi Q3 Dynamic is the Drive Select system. Now there is no modulation of suspension or steering with the Drive Select on the Q3, it is only limited to engine and gearbox. The new hydraulic suspension is seen for the first time in the Q3 and is more versatile or shall we say ‘dynamic’. The Q3 glides over bad roads, taking most of the beating in its stride easily and handling is quite predictive but the steering feedback still feels disconnected. We did slalom test with the Q3 Dynamic on the Kari race track and found that the new suspension feels more poised with minimal body roll. The permanent all-wheel drive Quattro system further adds to the immense grip. We also did braking test that was impressive with linear pedal bite and effective stopping performance.
Off-road – We know that the Audi Q3 is a compact SUV and we are aware about the fact that it has Quattro system that channels the power and torque to all the wheels but we were never sure about its off-road ability, until now. Audi had arranged a treacherous off-road track for the Q3 Dynamic and we can say right away that we were surprised by this very capable baby Q. Rock bed was the first obstacle that the Q3 soaked up with ease, thanks to the new hydraulic suspension. The side incline on the pictures looks like a cake walk but is pretty spine-chilling for the passengers inside when you are going through it. The steep incline was the most extreme obstacle out there with a steep decline afterwards and a high gradient to tackle thereafter.
With gentle throttle and brake inputs, the Q3 managed to walk the talk on stock tyres quite impressively. The obstacles never managed to scrape the underbelly but the front and rear bumper lips were kissing the earth sometimes but the skid plate shuns any damage to the car. The articulation humps and axle twisters exhibit how the Quattro works with great traction. The unbearable rumblers demonstrated the absorbing capacity of the new setup. All in all, it was a unique experience to drive a compact SUV on such terrain, thanks to the Quattro system but we doubt if the competition will be able to tackle such off-roading.
Verdict – Audi has prepared well for the festive season as well as the growing competition by introducing the Audi Q3 Dynamic but the pricing is a bit over the odds. Does it justify the premium? Well, the exteriors look complete and rich with additional hint of chrome, substantial alloys and clear lens lights. The cabin is more or less the same but the main difference lies under the skin, Audi Drive Select. The hydraulic suspension changes the way the Q3 behaves on or off the road. Though the modes are limited to only two settings but there is a choice for you to select how the car should behave. There are some missing details which you should get at this price point but the mature suspension and off-road ability makes up for it.
The Audi Q3 Dynamic is indeed a dynamic compact SUV and by SUV we mean it is a sports utility vehicle and not just a small crossover. The Q3 doesn’t letdown its elder siblings from the Q family having the legendary Quattro technology and potent engine. It is on the expensive side and we expected some more from the cabin but those with deep pockets won’t bother about the premium they are paying.
* Strong performance
* Drive Select
* Off-road ability
* Clear lens tail lights
What’s Not So Cool
* No rear arm rest
* No parking camera
Alternatives: Mercedes GLA, BMW X1
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