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Old 11th October 2014, 12:21   #1
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Default 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

The Audi Q3 Dynamic has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 38.40 lakhs (ex-Mumbai).

What you'll like:

• Only AWD luxury SUV in the segment. Quattro system offers leech-like levels of grip
• Top-notch interior quality. Noticeably superior to the BMW X1
• Competent diesel engine is mated to a quick, seamlessly shifting dual-clutch 7 speed gearbox
• Effortless to drive, thanks to the light steering & compact dimensions
• Loaded to the gills with features, and then some
• 5 star safety rating & equipment (ESP, ABS, EBD, electronic diff lock, a multitude of airbags etc.)

What you won't:

• 'Audi Drive Select' doesn't make a noticeable difference to the suspension
• This 'Dynamic' variant is priced 50% higher than the base 'S' variant
• Long-term reliability concerns over the DSG automatic
• Over-assisted electric steering. Stays light at highway speeds, feels vague too
• Stiff ride quality on bad & broken roads
• Limited rear seat space. The Q3 is best suited to 4 onboard (and not 5)


Last edited by GTO : 11th October 2014 at 14:41.
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Old 11th October 2014, 12:21   #2
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Default re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

Since the Audi Q3 has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on changes made to the 2014 Dynamic variant. For easy reference, here are direct links to the complete Audi Q3 road-test:

Exterior Design & Build Quality (Audi Q3 : Official Review)

Interior design, space, practicality & features (Audi Q3 : Official Review)

Engine, gearbox, suspension & on-road behaviour (Audi Q3 : Official Review)

In the Rough (Audi Q3 : Official Review)


Last edited by GTO : 11th October 2014 at 14:42.
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Old 11th October 2014, 12:22   #3
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It's been about 2.5 years since the Audi Q3 was launched in India. The compact SUV has become Audi's best-seller in the Q range, followed by the mammoth Q7. Since September 2013, the Q3 has been locally assembled at the Aurangabad plant. Its chief competitors are the long-in-the-tooth BMW X1 & the recently launched Mercedes GLA.

The 'Dynamic' is the Q3's new top-end variant. It costs 38.40 lakhs (ex-Mumbai), which is 2 lakhs more than the Premium+ trim. Also, the price difference from the base "S" variant is a significant 13 lakh rupees!

2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review-audi-q3-specifications-prices.png

The talking point of the Q3 Dynamic is the "Audi Drive Select" system. It's basically a dynamic suspension with 3 different driving modes (Comfort, Dynamic, Auto). The driver can select from any of the modes via a dedicated button on the center console, or the MMI interface. The car is otherwise the same mechanically, utilising the familiar 2.0L VAG diesel with 174 BHP (@ 4,200 rpm) and 380 Nm torque (@ 1750 - 2500 rpm). Power is transmitted via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. We'd have expected to see paddle shifters on this pricey variant, but they're conspicuous by their absence. Do note that the Q3's base "S" variant is available with a manual transmission & FWD layout.

'Audi Drive Select' is the talking point of the new Dynamic variant:


Front grille gets more chrome. Right below is the new silver skid plate:


Chrome-ringed foglamps:


Clear lens tail-lamps:


Silver skid plate at the rear as well:


35 TDI badge, as per Audi's new naming system. The badging now has a number (in multiples of 5) that denotes the 'performance factor' of the model. The faster the car, the higher this number. For instance, the A3 petrol is badged 40 TFSI as its 0 - 100 time of 7.3 seconds is quicker than this 35 TDI diesel:


3 new colour options - Florett Silver, Mythos Black and Monsoon Grey (pictured below):

Last edited by GTO : 11th October 2014 at 14:42.
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Old 11th October 2014, 12:22   #4
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Default re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review



The Kari Motor Speedway is a short, tight & highly technical track with many sharp turns...


...and a long straight:


'Audi Drive Select' offers the following 3 driving modes:

Comfort: Makes the suspension slightly softer to tackle rough roads and ensures a smoother ride for passengers.

Dynamic: This mode is meant for spirited drivers. It mildly stiffens the suspension up.

Auto: Meant for those who would rather let the electronics automatically choose between comfort & dynamic modes.

Honestly, there is hardly any difference felt between 'comfort' & 'dynamic' modes. The layman will be hard pressed to notice any change at all. Only perhaps on bad roads will the dynamic mode's stiffness be felt at low speeds, but the variance isn't substantial (as you'd expect). There's no significant improvement in handling either. Whatever marginal improvement is there, it'll not be noticed by most drivers. The Q3's 'Drive Select' system is a good feature to brag about, although there's no real-world advantage to it. Most drivers will prefer keeping it in 'comfort' mode only. Is it worth the price premium then? No ways.

Suspension comfort on good roads, or roads with smaller imperfections, is absorbent and flat. This is the kind of suppleness that X1 owners can only dream about. Best part is - as the speed increases - the ride only gets better. On the downside, on bad & broken roads, the underlying stiffness and low profile tyres show their ugly side. On poor stretches of tarmac, the Q3 starts getting uncomfortable. Large potholes can result in a bone jarring ride. It is almost impossible to keep up the pace on bad roads....the same roads that a humble Pajero manages in a far superior manner. The Q3 is equipped with a stiffer suspension to offset the height disadvantage, in its quest for superior dynamics.

I put in 2 hot laps with the Q3. INRC champ Prithveen Rajan shared tips with us and was in the lead car. It was a great experience to hurtle down the track following Prithveen's instructions.

The Q3 AWD has a gruff engine note on the outside, yet on the inside, refinement levels are good. The cabin is well insulated and there is none of the diesel humm at low revvs that we are used to hearing in VWs / Skodas powered by the same engine. It's only in the mid-range rpms that you hear some amount of diesel clatter. Compared to the BMW X1, the Audi Q3 feels a lot more refined. There is a considerable difference, especially when comparing NVH levels at idle.

This higher state of tune has power delivery that's a lot more peaky. The S-tronic transmission (dual-clutch) doesn't have a torque converter and thus, there is a distinct lag at low rpm. The X1 surely feels punchier at the low end. Anyone who has driven the VW-group DSGs will be familiar with the initial lag that I am talking about. After the initial lag, and past 1,500 rpm, performance is strong all the way to the redline. The mid-range is where this engine feels best; even in 7th gear, there is enough throttle response at highway speeds. The redline is marked at 4,500 rpm and the 2 liter diesel revvs close to 5,000 rpm without feeling strained. Still, the BMW 2.0L diesel is the revv-happier of the two. While the Q3 is more than fast enough for public roads, I had to really pin the pedal on the race track straights.

Typical of a dual-clutch gearbox (DSG), shift quality is seamless and without any interruption of power. Driven conservatively, the box upshifts at rpms as low as 1,400 - 1,500 rpm in D mode, maximising fuel economy. Although D mode is responsive enough for most, S mode is in a different league altogether. Not only does the box upshift at higher rpms, even the shift times are shorter. Gear changes in S mode are lightning quick, and completely devoid of jerks. Downshifts are nowhere as quick though and you do feel a lag if you need a drop suddenly (say, for an overtaking move). The gearbox also offers a manual mode. As competent as the DSG is, it remains more expensive to buy & maintain. Their reliability is a serious area of concern.

The steering is a disappointment for enthusiasts seeking feel and feedback. This electric power steering is over-assisted and feels disconnected most of the time. For the mass market, the light steering might be a boon, especially when parking and navigating through urban traffic. Good part is, the steering has quick, sharp responses making it fun in the twisties. If only it weren't so light at highway speeds. Audi should have engineered the steering to weigh up more as the speedometer needle climbs.

Steering apart, the Q3 has a very sporty handling setup. Sure, it doesn't entertain like the RWD BMW X1, but still feels enthusiastic when attacking corners. The Quattro system grips the road as if super-glue were applied to the tyres. Even with the ESP turned off, it will be very difficult for average drivers to lose control. On the limit, the Q3 will develop understeer in a progressive, predictable manner. Road behaviour is closer to sedans than heavier SUVs, and you never really feel like you are driving a crossover SUV. Stability at speed is good (except for the light steering). This, along with a flat ride and refined engine, makes the Q3 mask high speeds very well. The car impressed me particularly during slalom manoeuvring. Body roll, which we normally expect from an SUV, is superbly controlled.

The Q3 is equipped with disc brakes on all 4 wheels, ABS, EBD and an emergency brake assist system. Pedal feel is well-calibrated. Braking performance is strong, stopping distances short, with the Q3 maintaining composure even under hard braking conditions. In one test, we had to accelerate hard, go through the slalom section, return, swerve into the shoulder of the track and brake really hard without touching the cones that were placed precariously close to each other. I was pleasantly surprised as the Q3 Dynamic passed this test fairly well. There was absolutely no drama when I approached the braking point from high speed, slamming hard on the pedal to bring the car to a complete standstill.

Red and black combo looked great on the track:

Last edited by GTO : 11th October 2014 at 14:43.
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Old 11th October 2014, 12:22   #5
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Default re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

The Audi Q3 is the only luxury compact SUV that comes with an all-wheel-drive system (badged Quattro). The BMW X1 is a RWD vehicle, whereas Mercedes GLA is available with a front-wheel-drive layout only.

Left side dip into a trench provided some tense moments:


Audi wanted to give us an experience of the Q3 Dynamic on offroad terrain. Prithveen walked us through the AWD functions as well. It looked terribly difficult, considering I'm not an offroad expert. When my turn came, Prithveen said "You aren't on a race track, so remember to use the throttle judiciously. You can cover the entire offroad track by keeping the engine at a max of 1500 rpm". I followed his advice to the T and was gliding over most obstacles without stalling or rolling back at any point. It was an exhilarating experience! I had never thought that offroading can be this much fun! However, I must confess it started off on a tense note. It was only after crossing the initial obstacles that I was grinning from ear-to-ear.

These obstacles were custom prepared for the Q3 and thus, it obviously went through them flawlessly. There wasn't a single time that I got stuck in any of the challenges....some of which were scary for a first timer. They included steep inclines, declines, side dips, sloping shoulder curves and more. The total number of obstacles were about 15. There were a couple of instances where I braked too late / too early and heard the underbody scrape (Q3 has merely 170 mm of ground clearance). Luckily, there was nothing broken.

A steep incline. Many participants were either rolling back or stalling at this point:




Spot after crossing the decline:


Side-dip into this trench made me feel like I'm about to fall out of the vehicle!


The Q3's AWD system is a significant advantage for those customers who intend to take the SUV touring through India. I have no doubt that it can manage inexistent rural roads, muck & slush just fine. Equally, I must add that the Q3 is not a full-fledged offroader by any stretch of imagination. Proper ladder-on-frame 4x4 SUVs with a low range transfer case (like the Fortuner & Pajero Sport) have far superior offroad capability. The Audi Q3 is a soft-roader at best, yet one that can take you places the X1 & GLA will only dream about.

Superb angle for a capture, wot?




Disclaimer: Audi invited Team-BHP for the Q3 test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Aditya : 14th October 2014 at 12:01. Reason: corrected the BMW X1 to RWD, Mercedes GLA to FWD
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Old 11th October 2014, 14:48   #6
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Official Reviews. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11th October 2014, 15:36   #7
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

Nice review. The premium plus variant also has drive select. So what are the extras that the dynamic variant gets apart from clear lens rear lamp.

Last edited by human_wheels : 11th October 2014 at 15:51.
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Old 11th October 2014, 18:31   #8
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

Mod note: Post deleted. We do not allow pasting content directly from other sources. Please take this as a warning. Thank you.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 11th October 2014 at 19:24.
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Old 11th October 2014, 22:58   #9
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

The car looks stunning. Some of those angles are too scary to even see. Thank You for a beautiful review.
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Old 12th October 2014, 06:39   #10
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

Interior pictures are missing. Does that mean interiors remained same as earlier one?
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Old 12th October 2014, 09:52   #11
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by human_wheels View Post
The premium plus variant also has drive select. So what are the extras that the dynamic variant gets apart from clear lens rear lamp.
Premium Plus variant doesnt get the "Audi Drive Select" which is available only in this top-end model of Q3 which is the Audi Q3 Dynamics

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
The car looks stunning. Some of those angles are too scary to even see. Thank You for a beautiful review.
Thanks! I have participated as a passenger in a couple of offroad events like Mahindra Great Escape but, never drove in one myself. It was indeed a thrilling and edgy experience for a first-timer like me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thilak29 View Post
Interior pictures are missing. Does that mean interiors remained same as earlier one?
Yes. Interiors remain exactly the same as previous version
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Old 12th October 2014, 10:39   #12
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Premium Plus variant doesnt get the "Audi Drive Select" which is available only in this top-end model of Q3 which is the Audi Q3 Dynamics
The Bangalore showroom guy told me otherwise and also ndtvauto review says the same thing here.

Last edited by human_wheels : 12th October 2014 at 10:42.
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Old 12th October 2014, 11:26   #13
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

Those pics look simply amazing. Gives a clear idea of what has actually been done on the off-roading track.

With the Audi Drive Select not being as effective - rather lets says not as noticeable the 50% price difference from base variant seems a far stretch!
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Old 12th October 2014, 12:49   #14
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

I feel the price difference is not worth paying. And coming back to the post I think you must have had a thrilling experience. The mere pictures of those angles makes me feel afraid. I'm no off road expert either and so doing those inclines and all in this small suv which is not designed for off roading is a bit scary isn't it?
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Old 12th October 2014, 19:04   #15
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Default Re: 2014 Audi Q3 Dynamic : Official Review

Nice review!

I have participated in two off-roading (Q Drive) events organized by Audi in Bangalore and the experience has been exhilarating.

We drove Q3,Q5 and Q7, and we were really scared in the beginning, especially on those steep inclines. At the top of this through windshield you only see the sky. However the confidence these machines transpires is beyond words. The Quattro is in full control and you merely manipulate the steering and light throttle.
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