Audi Q3 Sportback Review (Updated 2020)

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The Audi Q3 Sportback aims to check all the boxes for individuals looking to get the ideal car.
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Introduction

The Audi Q3 Sportback aims to check all the boxes for individuals looking to get the ideal car. It wants to be as sexy as a coupe and as practical as an SUV. This highly ambitious goal can be evidenced by this statement on their website which says the car is an “Eyecatcher and Everyday companion – The Audi Q3 Sportback combines the aesthetics and emotional appeal of a coupe, with the power and functionality of an SUV.”

The Sportback joins a growing trend of Coupe-like SUV as more cars fill this niche segment. Other cars belonging to the Coup-ish SUV segment are the BMW X6, Mercedes Benz GLE Coupe and the mass-market Toyota C-HR. The Sportback is of course based on the Audi Q3, but a more stylish alternative. It is slightly longer, lower and narrower than its sibling but a definite upgrade especially because it does not sacrifice space while upgrading the aesthetics and performance of the regular Q3. The Sportback leans more towards an SUV but it marries style with practicality and differentiates itself from its competitors by artfully balancing the two.

Audi Q3 Sportback Exterior

The Sportback’s defining visual characteristic is its tapered roofline that slopes towards the smaller rear window. It is similar to the Q3 but different and the coupe-inspired sloping roofline is one of the many points that sets itself apart.

The Sportback’s body gives it a more elegant, sporty look with a shoulder line that is lower and arches that are slightly more swollen. The Sportback also has different creases to the sides and doors that give it a light sporty aesthetics on the body and shift the visual weight of the car.

At the front, the huge grille with the signature Audi Rings looks more intricate than the regular Q3. The rings can even be made in gloss black just like the single-frame grille, giving it a more chic look.

Audi Q3 Sportback Interior

Inside, the Sportback and the Q3 share many of the same high tech features. Unfortunately, this means it does not have that certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’ compared to other more showy-looking alternatives. But what the Sportback’s cabin lacks in charisma, it makes up for it in poshness. Inspired by the Q8, it has many modern design features. When you enter the car, you are greeted with a minimalist and clean aesthetics. Most of the material feels premium and while some of the plastics may not feel expensive, you have an additional option to add Alcantara leather to the armrests and dashboard to add more class.

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Clean aesthetics

The dashboard is identical to Q3 with a central 10.1-inch high-resolution screen containing its excellent infotainment system which will be discussed further in the features section. It has sharp and smooth graphics which is angled towards the driver making it easier to view. It also has a beautiful 10.25-inch virtual cockpit display which has a customisable digital instrument display that replaces traditional analogue dials. There are only four knobs in the entire cabin, adhering to its minimalist design, which controls the heating and air-conditioning.

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Adjustable storage

The biggest selling point is its storage and practicality. It has the same 530-litre capacity as the regular Q3, despite its sleeker and compact design. The rear seats can slide backwards and forwards to give space for the back cargo and in this regard, the Sportback just slightly provides less storage than its siblings. But when the seats are upright, space for both cargo and passengers is more than adequate as headroom and legroom are sufficient even for adults whose height is above 1.8m. Even the doors each have bins that are large enough to hold a big bottle and there is a cup holder in the centre console.

Audi Q3 Sportback Performance

The Sportback is said to have many excellent points that make it a great SUV. The downside is that what makes it a good SUV, does little to make it a high-performing sporty car. It seems this is where Audi had to make some sacrifices when trying to integrate sportiness into the SUV. The car comes with a choice of either front-wheel drive or Audi’s Quattro 4-wheel drive system, and either a manual or automatic gearbox.

It is smooth and comfortable to drive because it feels fine when driving through uneven roads with bumps and grinds. You can also add the Suspension Damper which is made available to cushion your ride further and it makes going through even rocky roads smoother. Turning corners with the car feel more balanced as the Sportback does not throw its weight around much and it resists body rolls commendably. It seems more focused on comfort, particularly as this comes at the cost of having a greater sense of control of the steering when attacking the turns.

In terms of acceleration and speed, it will accelerate from 0-100kph in less than 9.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 204 km/h, which is acceptable but nothing to rave about. Then again, the Sportback is modelled after an SUV and is not designed for performance, especially in Singaporean roads and traffic.

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Balanced driving

Available engine options include either 35 TFSI or 40 TFSI with 150 or 180 horsepower respectively. A point to take note is that while automatic transmission is seamless when moving, it may have a slight lag time in gear change which happens due to the traits of this type of engine design. There is also a 1.5-liter version with 4-cylinder turbo and 48-volt mild-hybrid alternative, which is designed to save a bit of fuel.

Audi Q3 Sportback Safety

One aspect that Audi does not compromise on is safety. The car comes with a comprehensive list of safety features which is standard in Audi cars. Both the front and rear have side airbags and employ a curtain airbag system. Another notable safety feature is the car’s ability to detect a lapse in concentration. If it does, it will give a warning on the screen or give a small nudge on the steering wheel to get you back in control. Other safety features also include:

  • A first aid kit with a warning triangle
  • 360-degree camera
  • Audi Pre-sense front for adaptive cruise control
  • Hill descent control
  • High-beam assist
  • Emergency assist

It even includes Traffic Jam assist amongst others which can be found by opting onto Audi Connect. One thing to take note of is that when attempting to change lanes is that the over-the-shoulder view can be restricted slightly by the roof because it slopes downwards. Otherwise, visibility is generally ok.

Audi Q3 Sportback Features

One of the biggest reasons that make the Audi Q3 Sportback an excellent car is the car’s modern infotainment system which comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It allows wireless Apple CarPlay which means you can enjoy your favourite songs conveniently on music streaming apps while using navigation apps on the Central screen, without having to plug your phone in.

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Modern and minimalist

The car has many high-tech features. One of the highlights is the ease of using the standard Sat-nav system. You can enter the address using the on-screen keyboard, or you can write letters directly onto the touchscreen. The direction can then be displayed either on the Virtual cockpit, Central touchscreen or both at the same time. The menus are also smartly laid out so it is easy to navigate and select the different options. The car also comes with DAB digital radio and six speakers around the car although you can opt for the more premium Bang and Olufsen speakers at a higher price. It has a sensor key and push-button start and charging sockets for USB and USB C both at the front and between the front seats so that everyone can get their phones charged.

Summary

With the new Q3 Sportback, Audi seems to have pulled off the difficult task of infusing a standard, practical SUV with elegance and style. With its top-notch practicality and comfort, the Sportback clearly still retains its SUV DNA, while the sloping coupe-style roof and sportier body means it looks much more refined and stylish than its SUV cousin.

The Audi Q3 Sportback is slated to be available in Singapore in the latter half of 2020 and is priced around $149,999 as of 19 Mar 2020, subject to changes from COE price fluctuations. If you are in the market for a large practical car, but find conventional SUVs plain and boring, the Audi Q3 Sportback is the perfect choice for you.

Verdict

What we like
- The looks and being a coupe-ish SUV, the design itself has won us over
- Reasonable pricing
What we do not like
- Rear headroom is somewhat compromised
Editor’s recommendation
The Audi Q3 Sportback strikes a good balance between glam and practicality. The space of 530 litres of boot space is generally comfortable as well.

Audi Q3 Sportback Specifications

Audi Q3 Sportback

S line Engine

 

1.5 TFSI

1,498cc, inline 4

Turbocharged Power

150hp at 5000-6000rpm

Torque

250Nm at 1500-3500rpm

Gearbox

7-speed automatic

0-100km/h

9.3 seconds (estimated)

Top Speed

205 km/h (estimated)

Fuel Efficiency

6L/100km (estimated)

VES Band / CO2

TBC / 130g/km (estimated)

Agent

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