You hear the name Audi Q3 S and at once think that it is one of those exotic, fast-going lot of cars but the Q3 S is infact a mashed-down of Audi's baby SUV. Audi has brought this baby out to take on the likes of the Merc A-Class and the BMW 1-series and the price point being the major change.
The project is all about bringing the cost down and the Audi Q3 S gets a 6-speed manual gearbox and this means that Audi has thrown the Quattro all-wheel-drive system out of the window. Even the daytime-running LED lamps go missing and that just shows how much Audi has stripped it down. However, Audi has managed to give it optional black 18-inch alloys and smoked headlamps and that is the extent to which Audi has changed the exteriors.
Inside though, it gets a full Audi treatment. Standard equipment in the cabin include 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, which is not at all bad, considering it is Audi's base variant of the Q3. Even on the safety front, the Q3 S gets four airbags and rear parking sensors, along with driver assist functions like Hill Start Assist, Cruise Control and ESP.
Audi has lowered the output of the Q3 S and the car now churns out 140bhp(174 in the Quattro) from the 1968cc, 4 cylinder engine but that doesn't mean that the Q3 S has gotten slower. It has shed some weight because it doesn't come with the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The weight difference is 140kg and this is why the Q3 S still feels as nimble and as agile as before.
It drives and handles in pretty much the same way as its sibling and we are glad that Audi has not compromised on the way it drives. Priced at Rs 24.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Q3 S is a real competitor and it looks the part too, though not as dramatic as the Merc A-Class, but it still is serious competition.