We drive the new front-wheel-drive Audi Q3 S baby SUV.
The new Audi Q3 S is a pared-down manual gearbox-equipped version of Audi's baby SUV. Configured and priced to take on the rival luxury hatchbacks from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, the Audi comes with a starting price of just Rs 24.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
To bring the cost down, the Q3 S features a six-speed manual gearbox; Audi's chucked out the Quattro all-wheel-drive system too. Another feature noticeably absent is Audi’s trademark daytime-running LED lamps.
That said, Audi
has done well to avoid giving the car a stripped-out look. The Q3 S gets optional black 18-inch alloys and smoked headlamps. The rest of the exteriors, however, remain unchanged. Standard equipment in the cabin includes leather-covered seats and steering wheel, cruise control, a fold-out 6.5-inch MMI screen that comes with Bluetooth connectivity, and electrically adjustable wing mirrors. On the safety front, you get four airbags and rear parking sensors, along with driver assist functions like Hill Start Assist, Cruise Control and ESP.
However, once inside, you do notice that some essential bits of kit have been omitted. There's no electronic climate control system and the MMI system is the basic one. This means the centre console does look a bit basic, especially the manual controls for the aircon.
Otherwise the Q3 S is very similar to the normal car. Legroom and headroom are just about adequate, unless you’re very tall; the seats are nicely cushioned and have good back support and general build quality is excellent. Continued..