Didn’t think the Germans could build yet another coupé-style SUV, did you? Of course they could, because Audi has thrown its hat into the ring already occupied by the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé with its new Q3 Sportback. Ingolstadt’s confusing naming strategy continues as, unlike the larger Q8, the car doesn’t come with a dedicated moniker like Q4, which has likely been reserved for a future electric model.
Instead, the car adopts the catchall Sportback nameplate, referring to the lower roofline and sloping rear windscreen that Audi says make it look longer than the vanilla Q3. There’s also a new rear bumper, with S line models gaining large (fake) air vents and diffuser-like strakes for a more dynamic look.
Otherwise, it’s as per the regular Q3, with the same handsome front end, L-shaped head- and tail lights, octagonal “singleframe” grille (now featuring black surrounds as standard), chiselled “quattro blisters” over all four wheel arches and contrasting painted body cladding.
Despite chopping nearly three centimetres from the roof (dropping the overall height to 1.56 metres), Audi says the Sportback still offers a “large and highly variable interior.” The 40:20:40-split rear seats slide and recline, and the boot is expandable from 530 litres to 1,400 with those back pews folded. There’s also a two-step boot floor – under which you can stow the parcel shelf – and an optional handsfree powered tailgate.
The Sportback also benefits from Alcantara trim on the dashboard and armrests, but other than that, it’s the same Q3 interior. That means you get a linear design with lots of metallic trim, a 10.1-inch centre touchscreen linked to the latest MMI infotainment system and a 10.25-inch display for the instrument cluster.
The MMI navigation plus package adds the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit display, while the Audi virtual cockpit plus is available as an option, incorporating a new “dynamic” theme. Other features included in the package is LTE Advanced connectivity, providing real-time information on traffic, road hazards, parking spaces and even traffic light phases.
Also on the options list is compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant, Google Earth-based navigation, Apple CarPlay (now wireless, just like on a BMW) and Android Auto connectivity, Qi wireless smartphone charging and a Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System.
In Germany, the Sportback comes with four standard driver assistance systems, which include pre sense front (autonomous emergency braking), pre sense basic, lane departure warning and lane change warning. You can also specify adaptive cruise assist with steering and braking assistance, a 360-degree camera system, rear cross traffic assist and park assist.
The range of engines will be limited to a pair of 2.0 litre turbocharged engines, making 230 hp in the 45 TFSI quattro petrol model and 150 hp in the 35 TDI diesel – both of which will be fitted at launch with an S tronic dual-clutch transmission. Manual and all-wheel drive versions of the diesel will come later, as will a more powerful oil burner and an entry-level petrol model. The latter will be offered with a 48-volt mild hybrid system that is claimed to reduce fuel consumption by up to 0.4 litres per 100 km.
All Sportback models come fitted with Audi’s standard “progressive” steering and sport suspension, with adaptive dampers and hill descent control available as options. The Audi drive select system now gets an “offroad” mode that adapts the engine, transmission, suspension and steering settings to enable the car to go just that little bit further off the beaten track.
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