IN one way, shape and many forms, Audi’s ‘3’ has been around for quite some time – and it’s been doing good business for them.
With SUVs growing in popularity with every passing month, the latest variant, the Q3 Sportback, looks a nailed on certainty to carry on the sales success on looks alone.
Q3 is the company’s fifth best seller in the UK and its new sportified body gives it a classier, sleeker look.
A coupe SUV might be something of a contradiction in terms, but it works. And there are of course others on the market from its competitors.
Marginally longer, lower and narrower than the car on which it’s based, it has a bit less boot-space, and costs around a grand more than the equivalent Q3.
It’s going to be popular. Audi reckons it will account for a third of all Q3 sales in the UK.
The engines are familiar from the Q3 and other VW Group cars. Two diesels, badged 35 TDI and 40 TDI, produce 148 or 187bhp from the same 2.0-litre engine, while the petrol choices offer 148 or 227bhp with a 35 TFSI or 45 TFSI badge. The entry-level petrol has a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive as standard, while the others are fitted with Audi’s quattro four wheel drive and/or an automatic gearbox as standard.
All versions get sportier suspension than the regular Q3, and the adaptive dampers fitted to our Vorsprung spec test car can be adjusted via the standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system with its Comfort, Dynamic, Efficiency, Auto and Individual modes.
Quiet (for a diesel) and composed on the decent road surface, the main foible is its reluctance to kick down at times, so it can feel a touch tardy off the mark. The 2.0 litre TDI diesel here has plenty of power on offer, capable of romping to 62mph in just under seven and a half seconds.
There are a lot of the luxury touches from the Q5 and Q7 in the newcomer in a smaller, more attainable package.
The familiarity with the Q3 is clear from the front, as the headlights, grille, bumper and air intakes are all carried over. From the windscreen backwards the roof shape is sleek and curved instead of straight, and the bootlid, rear bumper and rear wings are unique to the Q3 Sportback.
The coupe like shape doesn’t really affect its practicality either. Boot size remains the same at 530 litres but it’s a different shape due to the Sportback’s extra length and lower ride height. As the rear seats are mounted lower, rear headroom should be sufficient for most but the regular Q3 does feel a bit more spacious in that regard.
Up front, you can play spot the difference with the Q3; you won’t find many. In the centre of the dashboard is a large touchscreen display that can mirror Apple and Android phones and, if you download an app, you can preset the sat nav directions and unlock the car from your phone.
The original Q3, back in the day, was one of Audi’s most important models, as it gave many buyers their first and affordable experience of Audi ownership.
Prices for the latest star in the stable start at £32,440 and rise to just shy of, take a deep breath, £50,000.
Not exactly entry level territory any more!
Audi Q3 Sportback 40 TDI Quattro Vorsprung
Price: £47,060 (£50,305 as tested)
Engine: 2.0 litre, four cylinder, turbodiesel
Transmission: seven speed automatic
Top speed: 136mph
0-62mph: 7.4 seconds
CO2 emissions: 209g/km
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