Why I decided to buy Audi Q3 even though I had booked GLA 220d 4M

It was raining during the test drive. I was pushing the car on a nice long curve and the SA asked me not to apply brakes.

BHPian biplab3110 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Finally brought home the Baby Q today, after what seemed like an endless wait. The wait was purely on my account as my financial plan was falling into place only at the end of September. Sharing the process and the experience.

The Selection Process

It was late July when I suddenly had the itch to buy a Luxury SUV. I drive a Seltos GTX DCT (first lot – bought in Sept 2019) now and I was not looking for something bigger. A quick back-of-the-envelope maths and I knew I could do it before I reach an age milestone coming up this year. So I got down to the selection process, from a very short list. Next few weeks were spent test-driving these SUVs.

BMW X1 18

Least powerful of the lot and did not meet the basic performance criteria. I also found the sheer lack of physical buttons very gimmicky. This was the first one to get dropped from consideration.

Volvo XC40

Felt heavy, not a very enthusiastic engine. “Safety” seemed to be the only selling point. The Volvo SAs should understand, making a statement like “the car will roll over at least four times before the roof collapses” is not good to sell a car. I wouldn’t like to visualise myself in a car rolling down a slope. However, the XC40 got dropped for two primary reasons – extremely poor backseat comfort (low seating, very low under thigh support, upright back, ineffective AC) and the uninspiring service network (only one in MMR, just four all over Maharashtra).

GLA 200d

Punchy performance, opulent interiors. 400Nm of torque in a FWD is a LOT! The extremely soothing MBUX interface and the rotary AC vent controls with a reassuring click exude class. Nothing over the top and it easily put me at ease. However, I feel a rotary dial with clicks on the central console would be a much easier way to operate the MBUX screen than the touchpad with haptic touch.

GLA 220d 4M

Initially this car was not available for TD. The extremely enthusiastic SA and the Sales Manager at the dealership managed to get one down from Indore on a flatbed and it is now working overtime in Mumbai/Thane/Navi Mumbai for TDs. The 4Matic really blew me away. The AWD felt more reassuring than the FWD. The AMG line trim was an added bonus.

Driven by the heart, I went ahead and booked the GLA 220d 4M. However, both the 220d and the 220d4M had some misses in my books, which I kept ignoring – till I drove the Q3.

Q3 Technology

TD of the Q3 happened by chance. I had requested a TD for the Q3 by selecting a dealer in Mumbai. There was no response for three weeks. I had already booked the GLA 220d 4M before they finally called. Initially, I ignored the call. But then, I felt why not try out the Q3 once? This time I just called up the other dealer in Mumbai directly and they were very responsive. I called them on a Friday afternoon and on Saturday they were at my doorstep with the car. I went out for a TD with my wife in the back seat and the SA in the passenger seat. It was quite a long TD. For people who know Thane, it was on Ghodbunder Road, from Manpada to Fountain Hotel and back. A distance of 27km with quite a few sharp bends, turns and gradients.

It was raining and the road was bad in some places. I was pushing the car on a nice long curve and the SA asked me not to apply brakes. The way the car handled was fascinating! Then we were stuck in traffic with a few trucks in front. There was space on the left with 30% road and 70% gravel. The SA asked me to move ahead through that gap. The performance and the feel left me with a BIG smile. Yes, it did not have the 400Nm of torque of the GLA, but 320Nm did not feel like much less.

The Q3 has a lot of misses. It is the lowest on “new age tech” among all four. It is the only one with ZERO connected car features. But then, my Seltos is a connected car and how many times have I used them in the last four years? Very very few!! However, there are some very practical aspects which are better in the Q3. These aspects, aided by the attractive pricing, made me zero down on the Q3.

Considering the performance of GLA 220d 4M and the Q3 Technology almost at par, I got down to comparing the practical matters of the two cars, and this is how they fared. That the Q3 is a petrol car and the GLA 220d 4M is diesel also tilted the balance in Q3’s favour (I was jittery putting so much money in a diesel car with some policy changes looming large). Eventually, the Q3 was Rs14 Lacs cheaper than the GLA, with an extended warranty and a 5 years Service Package.

The Booking Process

This is where things became interesting and irritating. Let us say Dealer A offered me the Test Drive and Dealer B had initially been non-responsive (Now I believe it was a system glitch and the information did not reach them from Audi’s website). I went to meet Dealer A on a Sunday morning, spent two hours chatting with them, and clearly discussed my requirements, financing plan and timelines. I clearly told them that I will have a similar sit down with the other dealer as well. However, since they gave me the TD, they will have the first right of refusal. I had only one condition.

You have to give me your best offer. If the other Dealer’s offer is lower by more than Rs 1 Lac, I will not call back as it would mean you did not give me your best offer. They were also unsure of BH registration charges and were all over the place. We assumed a lumpsum value for registration and were given a price that seemed high to me. I asked them to share some details with me – inclusions and exclusions of the insurance being offered, conditions of extended warranty, inclusions and exclusions of a 5-year CSVP, and a proper breakup of the BH registration charges. It was a Sunday and I was told they will get back the next day with all the details.

Meanwhile, Dealer B was to meet me in my office the next day. However, for some reason, I could not be in the office on Monday. The Sales Associate and the Sales Manager turned up at my residence at 9 pm the same evening. 30 minutes was spent discussing my requirements. They had already shared all the details with me in advance (Information on warranty, CSVP and insurance, which Dealer A was yet to share). I was asked if I would book the car right now and I said no. I told them I would need two days to finalise the deal, no more. Then they gave me a number, which was almost Rs 5 Lacs lower than what Dealer A had offered!

I was still waiting for Dealer A to give me the required details. Late on Tuesday, I got a call from the SA at Dealer A asking me about when I was going to book the car. I ended up giving him an earful for taking me for granted. I was still waiting for them to give me the details and the calculation for BH registration. Then the Sales Manager called and very casually said “BH registration is 2% of Ex Showroom Price”. I gave him an earful and sent him the MoRTH Gazette for BH registration. Then I told them if they wanted my business then they needed to share their best offer and all the details I had asked for by 10 am the next day. Instead, they wanted to meet, give me the offer in person and get the booking from me right there. I flatly refused to be put at gunpoint.

Next morning at 11am, I called Dealer B. They gave me a token reduction from what they had already offered and we finalized the deal. I asked the Sales Manager why he gave me such an aggressive price when he met me even after I told him that I would not book the car immediately. I was impressed with his honest response. He said, “Sir, I had not done anything to get your business. You gave me a chance and I grabbed it. I had nothing to lose. I am glad you decided to go with us”.

Dealer A called me at 3pm and once again insisted on meeting. I said I had already booked the car and they had lost their chance. They kept on insisting that I share at what price I had booked the car. I refused. Gave them a lot of gyan on not taking a customer for granted and to learn something from the incident.

PDI and some hiccups

I have already posted about the issue I discovered during PDI. The car was on Hankook EV tyres and not regular tyres. I wrote to the dealer, and spoke with them. I told them it must be a mistake and they should take it up with Audi and change the tyres before delivery. I also called up Audi Customer Service and shared my observation. Within a couple of hours, I got a call from the dealer that the issue will be sorted before delivery. Some to and fro, another call to Audi Customer Service, and my car was delivered with Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres. All good!!

Accessories – The car came kitted with carpet floor mats and a cargo net in the boot. I added all weather mats, mud flaps, a boot liner and, YES, sports pedals!! 4 years with the Seltos GTX and couldn’t imagine the Q3 without sports pedals.

Here are some photographs of the car before delivery:

Too early to share a drive experience. That will have to wait for a few days. Next, the car will go for detailing. Then I have a trip to Ambi Valley next weekend. Will share the drive experience and some more photographs after I come back.

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