Stunning new Audi Q3 Sportback
The new Audi Q3 Sportback is finally here to ruffle the feathers of its rivals the BMW X2, Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes GLA. The Q3 Sportback is a coupe-styled version of the standard Q3. Coupe-styled SUV is the current trend, and Audi has designed a car which mixes the practicality and versatility of the standard SUV with an added sportiness.
The Audi Q3 Sportback has sleeker lines and added creases to the bodywork to make it look more aggressive and sporty. Once you start moving towards the rear of the Sportback, you notice more significant changes to the standard Q3. The roofline begins to slope away sooner lowering the overall height of the rear section as it leads into a more angled tailgate, to give a sportier appearance. The Q3 Sportback is a fraction longer, a touch shorter and a little lower than the Q3 SUV which works together to provide a sculptured, sporty silhouette.
The new Q3 Sportback is available in a choice of four trim levels, Sport, S-Line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung. On release, there will be a choice of two diesel engines and one petrol engine. More engine choices will follow later in the year and into 2020.
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Interior, Practicality and Space
The interior of the Sportback and Q3 SUV are nearly identical, which is not a bad thing given that the Q3 as one of the most attractive and simple to use dashboards in its class. Audi is known for using high-end materials and providing outstanding build quality which put it in the 'upmarket' bracket. The Sportback Q3 is no different. Beautiful interior with controls all angled towards the driver to help engage with the car and the road.
Although the rear of the Sportback slopes lower than the SUV, being slighter longer means the boot space is not compromised. You get the same boot space as you do in the Q3 SUV – 530 litres, more than you get in the BMW X2 or the Range Rover Evoque. Audi also has the option of an electric tailgate which can be operated by foot motion.
Inside, due to the lower roofline in the Sportback, there is a little less headroom than in the SUV. Unless your passengers are over 6ft tall, this shouldn't be much of an issue. To help with this though, Audi has made the base of the rear seats moveable. They can move forward and backwards up to 130mm, and the backrests can also be adjusted slightly. By doing this will create extra legroom and headroom depending on adjustments made.
Upfront the Sportback offers easy entry with sporty and commanding seating positions for driver and passenger. The seats are comfy and sporty, without being overly soft, which is excellent for both long and short journeys. They come with high levels of support to help cocoon you in. The seats have a wide range of adjustments to allow you to find your ideal driving position. Optional heated and fully electrically adjustable seats are available or standard with the high trim models.
Digital and Technical World – Display and Connectivity
The Audi Q3 Sportback comes with a fully digitised instrument panel, using the familiar Audi Virtual Cockpit system. There is a 10.3-inch screen as standard or the option to upgrade to the larger 12.3-inch display. There is a 10.1-inch colour touchscreen supporting Audi's MMI infotainment software package, which also includes a 3-year subscription to Audi Connect. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, and Audi's MMI system supports Amazon Alexa. There is a vast array of technical features available. Most come as standard depending on your trim level, for example, Smart Home Control. This allows the driver to adjust lighting or lock doors in their house, or close/open the garage door from the car. The Audi system is currently one of the best on the market and is well worth any extra investment.
In more expensive, larger Audi's, you get a second touchscreen which controls things like, driving modes and climate control etc. In the Q3 Sportback, there are high-quality dials, knobs, dials and buttons with are more pleasurable, working smoothly and satisfyingly.
Safety is always important when considering what car to buy and the Audi Sportback comes with a host of hi-tech safety systems and features as standard. Some of these include lane-departure warning, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), 360deg parking camera and LED lighting. There are other options available and will come as standard on higher trim models. These would include self-parking, Audi's Matrix LED headlights and adaptive cruise control.
The Audi Q3 Sportback has not been tested by Euro NCAP yet, and due to its similarities in build, equipment and design to the Q3 SUV, it may not have to. The Q3 scored an impressive 5-Star rating when it was crash tested. We will have to wait and see if this is the case.
Engines and Transmissions
Audi is offering the Sportback with limited engine choices of two diesel and one petrol. The petrol version 45 TFSI uses a 2-litre, turbocharged engine generating 226HP. The two diesel versions 35 TDI and 40TDI both use a 2-litre engine with either 147HP or 187HP. All three engines are paired to the Audi seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch transmission. The smaller diesel, 35 TDI, can also come with a manual gearbox. 'Quattro Drive' (AWD) is optional on the 35 TDI but standard with the two more powerful engines.
There will be another petrol engine coming out at a later date. The 35 TFSI will use a 1.5-litre, 150HP engine combined with a 48V mild-hybrid system.It will feature a cylinder-on-demand system to improve the economy further.
The Audi Q3 Sportback does not demonstrate the best handling or offer the sportiest of rides. You do not feel the same sense of enjoyment or fun, as you do when driving the BMW X2, as the steering is light and does not provide the same level of feedback. The Sportback though is more comfortable than the BMW and does not make you feel tired or aching after a long journey. If you are going to spend a lot of time munching the miles, then the Audi is the better choice.
The Audi Q3 Sportback is a coupe version of the SUV but just doesn't live up to what you'd expect of a coupe. It is too similar to the Q3 SUV, and it doesn't excite as you would anticipate. Yes, it looks sporty and aggressive and is arguably better looking than the SUV but is it worth the extra money? Now that's the real question...