AUDI HAS BEEN bullish on their SUVs ever since the Q7 struck gold in the film fraternity. But petrol SUVs it didn’t do, as there wasn’t any demand for them in our market. How times have changed though. The Q3 is available with a petrol engine now but with a sceptic’s heart. Audi hasn’t gone all out to equip it with Quattro nor does the 1.4-litre engine it uses, come with cylinder-on-demand technology like it does in the A3 and A4. We took it for a spin to find out how good this new application is.
So you can’t run the Q3 on just two cylinders and instead of the rather quick 7-speed S-Tronic, this one uses a 6-speeder. It still gets two clutches and shifts are fairly quick though. The 14 litre TFSI motor makes 148bhp of power and 250Nm of torque. 0-100kmph comes in a leisurely 8.9 seconds and it goes about doing its duties in an unhurried but smooth way. The absence of a transfer case makes this FWD Q3 lighter by about 65kg and with peak torque available at 1500rpm, you aren’t found wanting for power unless you drive with a heavy foot.
The front seats are very comfortable and the Q3 rides well over our roads, and I think a tad bit better than the heavier diesel we drove a couple of months ago. It isn’t as planted as the AWD obviously in fast sweeping corners as it is only front-wheel driven, and so it is best to keep it restricted to regular highway runs and for city driving. The engine is smooth and quiet and works well with the Q3. It doesn’t feel too underpowered and if all you are going to do is drive around town or go on an occasional sprint out of town, the petrol Q3 works well. As for the equipment, the Q3 petrol is only available in the Premium trim. Besides not getting Quattro and the 7-speed gearbox, this car doesn’t get paddle shifters, a reverse parking camera and more expensive looking aluminium inlays in the interiors.