Is the face-lifted BMW X1 now a more worthy competitor in the compact luxury SUV space or just a temporary distraction for buyers who would eventually turn to the Audi Q3 for a more pronounced mini SUV experience? That and more as we tally the credentials of country's two most sought after premium soft roaders
It was established very early on that the Audi Q3 despite its cost effective market positioning was no timid soft roader with a pretty outer glow. While BMW may have really kick started the country’s affinity for the more affordable premium soft roader segment with the X1, the Q3 went a step further and managed to convince younger buyers that an Audi could in fact be made more affordable even with all its SUV characteristics intact.
The look that got you hooked
The original BMW X1 that was introduced back in 2010 was a good looking Bimmer to begin with. It has played a big role in making BMW’s operations in India a more lucrative one on the strength of its sheer road presence and the updated model launched in February this year certainly appears visually even more poised to carry on the good work.
Its newly designed xenon headlights with chrome garnish and twin circular rings with LED accents, ORVMs with integrated turn indicators and a revised rear end have given the 2013 model a more striking exterior look (Read : New BMW X1 First Drive).
The Audi Q3 on the other hand is nothing short of attractive even for a scaled down SUV that has been built from ground up and attempts to present its own distinct demeanour. It is every bit as Audi to look at as one would desire and standing taller than the X1 has a certain commanding presence that we associate with any real SUV.
The one that makes you feel more powerful?
Both the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3 have world renowned 2.0 litre diesel engines that make them that much more special. Interesting to note is the fact that they actually produce an identical 177PS and torque (350Nm and 380Nm) that isn’t so far apart. The 7-speed S-tronic automatic transmission on the Audi Q3 is extraordinary, but the 8-speed automatic on the new X1 now makes life far more exciting with the addition of paddle shifts.
So who is the better athlete on the tarmac then? The BMW X1 with its RWD setup completes the 0-100 km/h run in 7.9 seconds, while the Audi manages the same distance with a clear one second advantage over the Bimmer. With a top speed of 218 km/h the X1 does not fail to impress, but the baby Q is fiercer of the two with a top whack of 230 km/h. All that power on the Q3 suddenly begins to pinch the pocket when you consider its overall efficiency of 11.72 kmpl as compared to a spectacular 15.4 kmpl that X1 users could take advantage of.
Which one would you rather be strapped into?
All said and done the face-lifted BMW X1 and the Audi Q3 are both very comfortable automobiles fitted with the finest materials that one could expect from a luxury class vehicle on a budget. High grade leathers, faux wood, entertainment systems with all sorts of connectivity options, driver centric center console layouts and space for seating five adults are certain stand out features where the interior treatment of the X1 and the Q3 are concerned. Luggage space in the trunk of the BMW X1 (419 litres) however falls short as compared to the Q3 (460 litres) which is a major consideration with vehicles belonging to this category (Read : Audi Q3 First Drive).
A soft roader for me or a genuine SUV it shall be?
The BMW X1 even with its limitations off the road continues to bolster company sales with much aplomb and that momentum will only pick up pace with the newer model. The Audi Q3 is a great mini SUV debutant in every sense and if you are a fan of the four rings then the Q3 would be an exhilarating way to get started.
Taking ones varied transportation needs into consideration, there is one clear divide between these two Germans and that is the fact that the Q3 will continue to attract a more adventurous audience with more miles and mud on their mind, while the X1 will remain the unbeatable luxury car for first time BMW buyers who are more accustomed to operating within city limits.