Audi Q3 Sportback – Stylish Affluence.

The Audi Q3 is a stylish small SUV that combines the high tech features of a premium car and a cabin that provides a huge amount of space. The second-generation Audi Q3 competes in a market place that is worlds apart from the original Audi Q3 in 2011. Since the first Q3 launched, the whole compact premium crossover class has become populated with some very talented rivals. Not only does the new Audi Q3 compete against a plethora of rivals like the Volvo XC40, Range Rover Evoque, Jaguar E-Pace, BMW X1 and Mercedes Benz GLA, but also its own baby SUV sibling the Audi Q2, which was launched in 2016, and which replaces the Q3 as the brands entry-level SUV.

Fusion of SUV and Coupé Styling;

The second-generation Audi Q3 is heavily inspired by the new flagship Audi Q8 SUV, meaning that the new Q3 body has grown in length, is better proportioned and a lot roomer that before. The Audi’s Q3 wheelbase has also grown by 78mm, while other major changes to the car relate to technology and driver assistance systems, bringing the Q3 right up-to-date in every respect. The lastest version of the Q3 is built on the VW Group’s versatile MQB platform, consists of a five-seat cabin arrangment, and is available in either a regular SUV bodystyle, or a Sportback bodystyle, with a fusion of coupé and SUV styling. There’s a new front grille with octagonal edges, new headlamps and the car’s profile is taller, which emphasises its SUV credentials. The Audi Q3 Sportback model brings added style in the form of steeply raked roofline, which gives a couple-like appearance over the standard Q3, and because the Sportback model is 16mm longer than the standard Q3, the sloped roofline doesn’t effect practicality.

Trim, Engine & Drivetrain Options;

The new Audi Q3 Sportback is available in two specifications – SE and S line, with engine options consisting of a 1.5-litre 150bhp petrol or a 2.0-litre 150bhp turbo-diesel (badged 35TFSI and 35TDI respectively), while an ‘S tronic’ 7-speed automatic transmission comes as standard no matter what trim level or engine is chosen. The Q3 is available with a front wheel drive format as standard, but a four wheel drive (Quattro) is available when specified with the 35TDI engine with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Test Car

My test car was an Audi Q3 Sportback 35TDI S line S tronic, which looked very elegant in its Dew Sliver metalic paintwork and optional 20” 5x twin-spoke alloy wheels. An impressive array of standard features adorn the S line, with key equipment such as front & rear parking sensors, rear spoiler, Audi PreSense front, Audi Smartphone interface, anti-theft wheel bolts with loose wheel detection, Audi side assist, Audi eCall, aluminium optic interior, hill hold with descent contol, progressive steering, electric tailgate, aluminium roof rails, high gloss package, S line exterior finish, S line sports pack, full LED headlights with dynamic rear indicators, LED interior pack, Audi Drive Select, cruise control with speed limiter, part leather seating, electronic parking brake, tyre pressure monitoring system, dual zone climate control, ISOFIX (front passenger and outer rear seats), front centre armrest, 10.1” MMI display, Audi Virtual Cockpit, lane departure warning, and a tyre repair kit. Outstanding build quality is evident throughout the cabin of the new Q3 Sportback, while impressive seating comfort and roominess add to the luxurious and airy feel within the car. The Q3 Sportback’s raised driving position provides a good view of the road ahead, while rear seat passengers will also benefit from their elevated seating position.

Excellent Driving Dynamics;

The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine in my test car performed admirably in all situations, and on a wide variety of road surfaces. With 150bhp and a hefty 340Nm of torque available, a top speed of 205km/h is achievable (where permitted), while the 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in as little as 9.3-seconds. A fuel consumption figure as low as 5.9l/100km (47.9mpg) was achieved when tested under strict new WLTP real-world fuel consumption testing procedures, meaning that the Q3’s standard 60-litre fuel tank is capable of up to 1,000km’s between fills, while annual road tax is just €270. Audi’s slick-shifting seven speed automatic (S tronic) transmission is faultless, and can be placed in normal drive (D) mode, or in sport (S) mode for times when you want to turn the Q3 into something more like a sports car. As a result of a well balanced suspension set-up and terrific chassis control, the new Q3 possesses excellent driving dynamics which keen drivers will truly enjoy. A standard sound-deadening windscreen eliminates excessive wind and tyre noise when on the move, while light steering proves very useful when maneuvering in and out of tight parking spaces. Audi’s Drive Select driving dynamics system allows the driver to influence the vehicles characteristics using six different modes, while a full five-star Euro NCAP crash test result provides peace of mind for all occupants of the new Q3.

Conclusion & Pricing;

Overall, the new Audi Q3 Sportback (like its regular Q3 sibling) is a compelling choice among luxury subcompact SUVs. It’s a well-rounded vehicle, combining an elegant, feature-rich interior with a comfortable ride and spirited handling. An extensive list of standard safety features that include emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist provides ultimate reassurance on the road. With a youthful flair, the handsome and robust new Audi Q3 Sportback epitomises stylish affluence. Pricing starts at €41,400 and represents a €1,000 premium over the regular Q3 SUV, while Audi’s 3-year/100,000km warranty comes as standard.

Visit www.audi.ie for further information.