Audi Q3 is back and it’s loaded: ‘virtual cockpit’, ambient lighting, four-way lumbar support

AAs air quality recently deteriorated in the National Capital Region, the Graduated Response Action Plan, or GRAP, came into effect. The oldest vehicles were prohibited from driving on the roads of the capital. The ban covered all vintage petrol vehicles that met Bharat Stage III (BS3) standards or earlier. It also stopped all diesel-powered vehicles that met Bharat Stage IV (BS4) or earlier standards. This, as expected, caused the inconvenience of many car owners in the capital. While the BS4 rules came into force in April 2017, the BS6 rules, the implementation of which was accelerated when India jumped BS5, came into force in April 2020.

As manufacturers sold out older cars before the new rules took effect, many buyers snapped up vehicles at attractive prices. Because once the new rules come into play, the registration of older vehicles will not be allowed. It is precisely these buyers who are now paying the price due to the GRAP ban. So far the enforcement of GRAP has not been noticed, but if the air quality continues to deteriorate, its enforcement will also be strict.

And if that happens, you will see almost every Audi Q3 disappear from the roads of Delhi.

This will be quite strange, because a few years back, the Q3 was India’s favorite luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV). The four interlocking rings of the German automaker began to be described as ‘chaar choori’ colloquially and in Punjabi songs. Nine out of ten Q3s sold had a diesel engine. And since Audi stopped selling diesel in India, as well as the Q3 before the BS6 regulations came into force, the future looks bleak for this batch of cars still on the roads of Delhi.

See also  AP Trend Roundup at 9:38 am EDT | Nation and World | - Athens Daily Review

But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for Q3 in Delhi or India. There’s a new Q3 in town.

Also read: Innova Hycross improves on many fronts: great mileage, low body roll, cornering well

The gasoline avatar

A very attractive car with Audi’s signature new headlamp and taillight design that retains the classic shape of the Q3 you’re familiar with (although larger in every dimension). But now it comes only with a gasoline engine. The two-liter turbocharged engine that also powers other Audis makes a respectable 190 horsepower, giving this SUV a hefty amount of oomph and start. The previous generation Q3 didn’t just sport a diesel engine to move more units of the car. Audi India had also offered the car in a stripped down version, hoping to cash in on the Indian buyer push for the ‘chaar choori‘ Badge. While there’s no doubt that the Q3 was always a good car to drive, the next generation just feels better. Better off the line, better in the corners. The older generation cannot claim to touch such levels of refinement.

The new Q3 is available as a Quattro, which is what Audi calls its permanent all-wheel drive system. While I didn’t get the chance to take the new Q3 out into the wild, you can be sure that the Quattro system designed by legendary automotive engineer Ferdinand PiĆ«ch, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, can actually make the new Q3 go a lot of places it would. You really don’t think a luxury German SUV can do it.

The interiors also get a massive update with the latest version of Audi’s digital instrument cluster called the “virtual cockpit,” along with multi-color ambient lighting and four-way lumbar support.

Also read: EQB or GLB, compact three-row SUVs are sure to give Mercedes a winner

Updates have a cost

But all this does not come cheap. While there has been a general price increase across all cars, the new Q3 comes in two variants. A ‘Premium Plus’ model at Rs 44.9 lakh and a ‘Tech’ model at Rs 50.4 lakh which has all sorts of gadgets and gizmos. A decade ago, when the Q3 was launched, you could get one for less than Rs 30 lakh. Sure the new version is a bit bigger, nicer to drive and comes loaded to the gills with toys, it makes you scratch your head at how car prices, and I’m not pointing fingers at Audi here, they’ve moved in the last few years. If economists factored car prices into CPI calculations for inflation, we’d be in a pretty bad place.

See also  Meituan invests in electric batteries and explores the field of smart cars

While it took Audi India a few years to regroup, because the decision to stop selling diesel had an adverse effect on the company, it wasn’t just the Q3 that was popular on diesel. Nearly 90 percent of the cars the company sold were diesel. Since then, he has managed to recoup some of his lost sales. Diesel is becoming a dirty word for private cars, and the decision by Audi India parent Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited (SAVWIPL) to stop selling diesel now seems prescient.

And while there are many questions about the overall shape of India’s economic recovery and whether to take everyone, the fact remains that demand for luxury brands is skyrocketing again. Audi will also benefit from the switch from diesel to gasoline, driven by policy changes.

@kushanmitra is an automotive journalist based in New Delhi. Views are personal.

(Edited by Anurag Chaubey)

Leave a Comment