Home / Reviews / Audi Q3 Sportback Tested – No Substitute for Style

 

The Audi Q3 Sportback may appear to be riding in on the coat-tails of the Q3, but that is not the case. This one has its own style and a unique character to go with it.

Audi Q3 Sportback

Audi and their “quattro” system are a legend in the sporting world but with the Q3, most of this motor sport heritage is not visible at the surface. In India, the Q3 has always been the best option to step into the Audi family and while it excels at being a premium SUV, the rally lineage is not on display and, to be fair, style is not among its many virtues. To spice things up and to offer another exciting route into the Audi family, here is the Q3 Sportback, the sporty and stylish extreme of the Q3’s versatility.

Audi Q3 Sportback Audi Q3 Sportback

A sporty car must be fun to drive and a car that is fun to drive must look the part too. It is a self-balancing equation. The “Turbo Blue” paint option in the Q3 Sportback does full justice to the car’s sporty credentials because it promises to be lively even before opening the driver’s door. While the front half of the car is largely similar to that of the Q3, the rear, with its sloping SUV coupé roof-line, is the Sportback’s main attraction. From a side profile, it presents a shape that is instantly more sporty and interesting than the regular Q3. The S-line is the only variant on offer for the Sportback, so this car gets the beautiful 18-inch wheels and other special items, including badging in and on the car.

Audi Q3 Sportback Audi Q3 Sportback

There are no surprises in the cabin because, like any Audi, this one also receives an elegant interior that remains true to the German manufacturer’s minimalist approach. Multiple materials, including leatherette, brushed aluminium, and different types of plastic, have been used to liven up the interior to match the car’s sporty credentials and the overall effect is subtle. To round it off, Audi have also supplied ambient lighting, making this cabin a nice place to be in, particularly in the evenings.

The subtlety of the sportiness, the comfort of the seats, and the relaxing ambience make the intention rather clear. Yes, this is a sporty car but it also offers the comfort of an executive lounge when used on a daily basis. Infotainment is managed by a touchscreen interface that supports the latest in terms of smartphone connectivity in addition to offering Audi’s own software. In our country, regardless of which car one drives, getting stuck in a traffic jam is inevitable. In such moments, one appreciates the quality of a car’s sound system and a similar situation drew my attention to the Q3 Sportback’s 180W 10-speaker unit. From Michael Bublé to Jackson, it played a variety of music with no loss or distortion, presenting an enjoyable experience that only added to the aforementioned lounge experience.

Audi Q3 Sportback Audi Q3 Sportback

The seats in the front row, made with a combination of leather and leatherette, leave no cause for complaints. The driver’s seat offers ample comfort and also holds one in place while driving enthusiastically, though I did miss not having ventilated seats. Audi’s thoughtful inclusion of fore-and-aft adjustments for the second row of seats does improve their comfort and functionality but under-thigh support could have been better. With rear a-c vents and ample head-room (in spite of the sloping roof), the passengers are well taken care of. The boot space in this car is a very practical 530 litres with the option for more when the second row is folded down. Furthermore, Audi have added to that convenience by offering a gesture-controlled hatch. As for safety, the German marque’s commitment continues to be as staunch as ever thanks to six airbags and driver aids.

Audi Q3 Sportback

Under the bonnet rests the 2.0-litre, 16-valve, in-line, four-cylinder “40 TFSI” engine which develops 190 hp and 320 Nm of peak torque which in the real world translates into “more than enough for everyday use”. The Sportback benefits from the quattro all-wheel-drive system and power is sent to all four wheels once it passes through the slick seven-speed, dual-clutch S tronic transmission. This combination can be further tweaked using the driving modes which include the Comfort, Sport, Off-road, and Individual options. Throttle response and steering feel change through the modes and each one is calibrated just right for its intended use. Even at speed, there is zero lag from the S tronic transmission as this car just runs through the gears while the tachometer chases the red-line. In the city, it is just as docile and a breeze to drive in Comfort mode.

Audi Q3 Sportback

The torque was available on demand and the transmission ensured that the car was always in the right gear which meant a relaxing drive experience in Comfort and a thrilling contrast in Sport mode wherein each gear was used for longer along with an equally urgent soundtrack for company. The steering is precise and the flow of torque is linear, making this car rather easy to drive even for a beginner. While driving fast in Sport mode, the extra grip from the quattro system makes its presence felt and livens up the cornering experience by a significant margin, but it is most obvious in the Off-road mode.

Audi Q3 Sportback

Although it boasts of an impressive ground clearance, this Sportback is no off-roader, but it is not shy of unpaved roads either. When sent on full blast down a trail, the Sportback takes off without a fuss and offers the driver the entire extent of grip provided by the quattro system. The traction control does not eat into the fun unless absolutely needed, so no complaints on that front. The Sportback’s suspension is not electronically adjustable and is set up on the stiff side but not so much as to be uncomfortable, even in town. The ride quality is good and only the harshest of bumps make their presence felt. The Sportback makes up for that by offering a stable ride around corners at a good clip. Disc brakes all around ensure good stopping power too.

Audi Q3 Sportback

An Audi Q3 Sportback costs Rs 51.43 lakh (ex-showroom) and it makes sense if you need a stylish way to enter the Audi family. What I like best about this car is that it delivers on everything it promises and seems to be rather well-balanced both in terms of comfort and driving dynamics.

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Also Read: Lamborghini Urus Performante First Drive Review

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

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