Entry into the luxury segment is becoming more affordable. But while most are launching premium hatches, Audi answers with a pared down Q3 SUV.
Audi’s rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW are busy bringing in expensive, high-end hatchback cars in the form of the A-class and the 1-series, but Audi isn’t joining the fight with the A3 Sportback. Instead, the carmaker is taking its baby SUV a few notches down in price to compete directly with the aforementioned hatchbacks. The advantage of this strategy is quite plain to see – the Q3 is more SUV than hatchback and, as such, will be bigger and offer better perceived value than the Merc or the BMW. Throw in the Indian love affair with the SUV, especially one that has four rings on its nose, and you can see that this move by Audi is more clever calculation than gamble. What will also help tremendously here is the fact that Audi will start assembling the Q3 in India, thereby attracting less duties.
And that’s not all. Audi’s taking another unprecedented step – this Q3 2.0 TDI (it will be called the Audi Q3 S) will come with a six-speed manual gearbox and won’t have Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Also, the key challenge for Audi lies in cutting down on equipment without making the Q3 feel too pared down – buyers will still expect it to feel like an Audi.