In fact, the Q3 has quite a few strengths that the X1 lacks. The most notable being its superior packaging. In contrast to the X1�s rear wheel drive layout & longitudinally mounted engine, the Q3 with its transverse motor offers better space utilisation & is more spacious in the back. While the X1 is rear wheel drive, Audi will sell the Q3 at launch only in four wheel drive. Company officials say that they want to deliver the full Audi experience, & that means kitting it with a full fledged MMI system & luxury pack, similar to the A4. Expect the Quattro equipped Q3 to start at around Rs 26 lakh for the 170bhp 2.0 TDi.
Another SUV from Audi is also on the cards, but this time around it�s from the other end of the spectrum.
Audi�s Q7 is already well established in India. But Audi still wants to go a step further & launch the insanely quick 500bhp V12 diesel Q7 (see our drive, pg 72). Audi feels there is a limited market for a vehicle that can lay claim to being the fastest SUV in the country. However, Audi engineers are worried about India�s dusty conditions, since the V12 Q7 has ceramic brakes, which are sensitive to dust, as standard. Hence, the green signal to launch the V12 Q7 still hasn�t been given.
Audi will also continue its policy of offering some of its sportiest cars in India. The superlative RS5, the R8 & R8 V10 have been on sale for some time & Audi�s attractive & affordable sports car, the TT will be relaunched this month too. �We are looking to get the new TT at a very attractive price,� said Michael Perschke, head, Audi India. The 208bhp 2.0 TFSi could start as low as Rs 40 lakh & we could get the range topping RS as well.
The most significant car for Audi, however, could be the new A3, a car that would almost certainly make it to India as soon as a right hand drive version of the yet to be launched saloon is available globally. Also using a transverse engine for space efficient packaging, the A3 saloon is likely to be a game changer for the German luxury carmaker in India.