New Audi Q3 2022: Our observations after a day of driving

Note that the Q3 doesn’t get the adaptive dampers like the Skoda Kodiaq. What you get is Audi’s ‘Comfort Suspension'.

Driving the Audi Q3 Turbo Petrol Automatic

Powering the Audi Q3 is this punchy 2.0-litre (40 TFSI) turbocharged petrol engine that puts out 187 BHP and 320 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission with Audi’s Quattro AWD system:

This 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine in the 187 BHP tune is shared with the Volkswagen Tiguan, Skoda Kodiaq, Skoda Octavia, Skoda Superb, Audi A4, etc. The same engine is available in a higher state of tune (241 BHP & 370 Nm) internationally, and a lot of owners would've appreciated the powerful tune in the Q3. But as of now, we must do good with 187 BHP. The performance of this engine is strong and with the torque available from low revs, the 2.0 is quite tractable and enjoyable at all speeds. That said, it is disappointing that Audi hasn't made its durable, efficient & powerful 2.0 TDI engine BS6-compliant. That puts the Q3 at a disadvantage as there are many diesel lovers in the premium segments. Plus, that 2.0 diesel was a workhorse for high-mileage customers in a way that the 2.0 TFSI can never be. Important to note that the cars in direct competition (BMW X1 & Mercedes Benz GLA) have a diesel engine in their lineup.

In the city, the 2.0 motor's healthy bottom end helps you get around effortlessly. The throttle response is good and the Q3 moves smoothly. Add to that, the direct injection and turbocharger ensure that the engine isn't lethargic at low RPMs. There's always more than enough power on tap to accelerate or overtake quickly. The minimal turbo lag just makes it that much more responsive. While the dual-clutch S tronic gearbox is super smooth 99% of the time, it can get jerky at crawling speeds in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Drive with a light foot and the gearbox moves up the ratios quickly. It is eager to reach higher gears and you will see it upshift under 2,000 rpm. Impressively though, you won't feel these shifts as the transition is very smooth. The Q3’s steering is light at city speeds and the car shrinks further in size while driving. You will enjoy driving it in the city.

Out on the highway is when things go from good to great! You'll find yourself addicted to flooring the throttle whenever there's an empty stretch of road. Outright performance is excellent and the strong mid-range takes care of all the overtaking you need to do. The downshifts are quick and the gearbox responds well to throttle inputs, especially in "Dynamic" mode. The engine revs beautifully to ~6,200 rpm and importantly, sounds lovely and sporty while doing so. While this is enjoyable, we would have liked to see 6,500 - 6,700 rpm to play with as this rpm level is way too low (some diesels rev to 5,500 rpm!). In terms of cruisability, the Q3 can run at triple-digit speeds all day long without breaking into a sweat. The engine spins at a relaxed ~1,700 rpm at 100 km/h and ~2,000 rpm at 120 km/h. And touring you must do - this car is built for long-distance road trips. In summary, the 2.0 TFSI is a jewel of a motor that will keep you happy at low revs & high, and in the city as well as on the highway.

The Q3 uses a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox and has a wet clutch setup. We have reservations regarding the long-term reliability of any VW / Skoda / Audi dual-clutch and strongly recommend getting that extended warranty. The first 500 customers of the Audi Q3 are being offered a 5-year extended warranty and a 3-year / 50,000 km comprehensive service package.

Cruising around in D mode, one won't even notice the gears being shifted. They are damn smooth. The kick-down response time is quick and you will never feel that the gearbox is hunting for gears either. It's in the right ratio almost all the time. When you are in the mood to drive the car aggressively - engage 'Dynamic' mode. This puts the car in 'high alert' mode and its senses are heightened. The dual-clutch transmission holds onto gears longer before upshifting and you'll also notice that the gearbox is eager to downshift at the slightest of throttle inputs. People with a heavy foot will love S mode for sure. However, in the city where traffic is heavy, S mode can get jerky.

Paddle shifters have been provided and you will enjoy using them with this turbo-petrol. The response time is quick and they are fun to use on a twisty section of road. Tap the left paddle for a downshift and you'll notice the ECU blipping the throttle to match the revs, which is quite satisfying & addictive. There's a good amount of engine braking available too. But again, with such a combination, the paddle shifters would've been a lot more fun if the engine offered 500 - 1,000 more revs to play with.

The Q3’s dual-clutch S tronic features an "S" mode that changes the gearbox's shift points. The gearbox holds onto the gears longer too. One can engage the manual mode by moving the gear lever to the left into the Tiptronic gate, or by clicking on any of the plastic paddles. Tiptronic works in both "D" & "S" modes. The response time in Tiptronic is decent and the S tronic holds on to gears. One can use this mode to keep the engine in its powerband, which can be useful for overtaking manoeuvres.

Apart from the gearbox's "S" mode, the Q3 has a host of driving modes, which change the parameters of the engine, gearbox, steering, ESP, and air-con. There are a total of five drive modes to choose from: Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Offroad. The Q3 gets a dedicated ‘Drive Select’ button below the gear lever to select the drive mode.

  • Comfort mode: As the name suggests, everything is in the most comfortable setting in this mode - the engine map and steering. Use this for everyday driving in your city.
  • Dynamic mode: Engage Dynamic mode and the gearbox also shifts to ‘S’ mode. The downshifts are much quicker, and you'll feel the throttle to be sharper. The engine feels more responsive in Dynamic mode for sure. This is the mode for when you're in the 'mood' for fun. For regular city driving, this mode can feel peaky. The steering feels heavier than the other modes.
  • Efficiency mode: The climate control doesn't work as hard in efficiency mode - it still cools the cabin sufficiently though. Power delivery is lazier, with the throttle response dulled a bit. Overall, because the engine is reasonably powerful, the efficiency mode is still usable. It doesn't feel too sluggish and there is sufficient grunt on tap to keep you cruising at higher speeds. When it comes to quick overtaking, you will need Dynamic or Comfort modes.
  • Auto mode: This is the mode where you let the car decide what’s best for you. It’ll adjust characteristics based on your throttle inputs.
  • Offroad: As the name suggests, this should be engaged when you’re not on the road. It provides better accelerator sensitivity in these conditions. Also, the traction control is switched off when this mode is engaged.

Audi has equipped the Q3 with its well-known Quattro all-wheel-drive system. As is usually the case with such crossovers, in normal conditions, the system sends power to the front wheels only. If road conditions require more traction, it will send the necessary amount of torque to the rear wheels. The system monitors which of the four wheels has the most traction and is able to send torque to those wheels. If slippery roads make a wheel lose traction, the system hits the brake on that wheel and transfers the remaining power to the other wheels. The AWD will help you when touring remote parts of the country and over the likes of slush, muck & sand. It's no hardcore offroader though.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)

As you would expect in a premium SUV like this, refinement levels are overall satisfactory. The engine idles softly and you'd barely notice it while driving around sedately. Rev the 2.0 TFSI and a nice, sporty note is audible in the cabin. Wind noise is well controlled even when driving at 120 km/h.

Mileage & Fuel Economy

We would expect 7 - 9 km/l in the city, depending on traffic density. You do get an idling stop/start system which should help save some fuel at traffic signals. Do note that turbo-petrol cars are very sensitive to throttle input and if you drive it hard (which you will), the fuel gauge will drop much faster and you'll see 5 - 6 km/l. The Q3’s fuel tank capacity is 62.4 litres.

Ride Comfort

The Q3 uses a MacPherson strut suspension up front and a multi-link setup at the rear. The suspension feels firm for Indian conditions; as you would expect in a luxury car. But unlike the Tiguan, this suspension tune isn’t very uncomfortable and is quite livable. At low speeds, the Q3 absorbs small bumps nicely and not much of it is felt in the cabin. You do have to be careful with the large potholes as you will hear a noticeable ‘thud’. Over a rough patch of road, there would be a lot of side-to-side movement in the cabin.

Out on the highways, the ride quality is good too. On a smooth expressway road, you and your passengers will be munching miles quite comfortably. Vertical movement is well controlled i.e., the suspension is firm enough to prevent the body from bouncing too much on undulating roads. However, road imperfections and even rumble strips are felt sharply in the cabin.

Note that the Q3 doesn’t get the adaptive dampers like the Skoda Kodiaq. What you get is Audi’s ‘Comfort Suspension'. And while this does a good job, having the ‘Dynamic’ dampers (Adjustable firmness according to drive modes) would’ve given that added flexibility to Q3’s ride comfort.

The recommended tyre pressure is 33 PSI and that’s perfect for day-to-day driving. Not to forget that this is a luxury car and you cannot take on rough roads as you would in say a Duster. It has the typical German car characteristics to it and the suspension tune has an underlying layer of firmness to it. But first-time luxury car buyers will appreciate the ride comfort in the Q3.

Handling & Dynamics

The good thing about this suspension tune is its high-speed behaviour. The car feels very solid and very planted. The car's high-speed stability is excellent, and it feels damn composed at triple-digit speeds. The Q3 masks silly speeds with ease.

When on some twisty roads, you will appreciate the kind of grip you get from the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. You can hold the line quite easily and carry more speed into the corner. The Michelin Primacy 4 tyres on our test car did well when cornering hard. You can change directions from one bend to another without much drama and the car feels composed throughout. There’s some body roll felt under hard cornering, but it’s never excessive. Having adaptive dampers would’ve made some difference here in ‘Dynamic’ mode. All in all, the car’s dynamics are typically German and complement the 2.0 TFSI engine very well.


While the electric power steering is accurate and weighs up at highway speeds (although not as much as enthusiasts would like), it offers very little feel and feedback. On the positive side, it's light at city & parking speeds. It also comes with something called progressive steering which will be immensely appreciated at parking speeds. What happens is that the steering ratio becomes increasingly direct with increasing steering angle. In simple words, the car understands that you are going lock to lock in a parking lot and reduces the number of turns. You can go from full left lock to full right lock in just 2 turns of the steering wheel! Super clever and efficient too. This, along with the delightful smooth gearshifts, smaller turning radius, and relatively urban-friendly dimensions makes the Q3 easier to drive in the city.


Disc brakes all around are pretty much a standard in this segment. The brakes are top-class. The car had no problems stopping in a straight line, even when we slammed on the brake pedal at speed. However, I did get the feeling that the brakes are too sensitive to pedal pressure and this can take some getting used to.

Continue reading the discussion on the 2022 Audi Q3 on our forum.

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