• Audi Q3 Sportback: First Drive Review

The Q3’s more fancy sibling enters the subcontinent

The Q3 has always had a smart design and one that appeals to a wide audience across the world. My memories of the first-generation model will always be special thanks to the numerous expeditions I took on it to the Himalayas and road trips that were always effortless and comfy. The second-generation Q3 took the same character and built on it by offering a larger footprint and additional features while retaining the overall silhouette that is unmistakably Q3. This happened a few years ago, but the newer model made it to India only last year, thanks to the pandemic. The folks at Ingolstadt, however, went on to make a new Q3 body style, the Sportback. Audi India hasn’t waited any longer this time around and has been quick to roll out this fancier Q3.

The biggest highlight of the Sportback as its name suggests, is the coupe styling displayed in the form of a sloping roof and a completely redesigned rear end. This makes it look more like a coupe with a raised height than an SUV. There isn’t a lot of mass to play with considering the regular Q3 footprint isn’t a large one, but Audi designers and engineers have done an impressive job at offering a sloping roof while still giving the SUV a proportionate look. The wheelbase has been retained, while the rear overhang has grown slightly to make the coupe style work. Another differentiator that adds sportiness to the SUV is the S Line addition. This Q3 is only available in the S Line trim, unlike the regular model, and gives it added exclusivity. The brushed aluminium detailing on the grille, bumper, and side skirts stands out, while the distinctive Turbo Blue shade you see here is a Sportback-only option as well. 

The front half is based on the regular Q3, so the space and interior are identical, but it’s the area behind the front seats that are different. The rear legroom is impressive and a comfortable place to live in too. However, the sloping roof does eat quite a bit into the rear headroom, especially for taller adults, despite a scooped section on the headliner for added room. The boot space is identical to the regular Q3 in terms of overall volume, at 530 litres thanks to the added length. With the seats folded, the number increases to an impressive 1400 litres making it one of the most practical coupe-styled vehicles out there. The seats also split 40:20:40, and the rear seats also slide forward for additional boot space. The attention to detail and quality is excellent, and the dashboard layout is simple yet very modern and similar to the Q3. A brown or beige leather interior may not appeal to everyone, especially if you are into a sporty black hue finished in Alcantara instead, but it sure is luxurious and adds to the appeal.

In terms of engines, the Sportback gets the same potent turbocharged petrol motor displacing 2.0-litres and produces 190PS and 320Nm of power and peak torque, respectively. It’s an effortless unit and propels the Sportback to 100kmph in a claimed 7.3 seconds. There’s enough mid-range grunt allowing for effortless overtakes and ample torque to cruise at triple-digit speeds without stressing the motor. The seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission delivers smooth and quick shifts, making it a joy to drive at low or high speeds. There are various driving modes that alter the performance in terms of power delivery and overall efficiency as well. Quattro is offered standard, and the AWD system keeps the SUV planted around corners and offers impressive traction on slippery terrain too. It isn’t the best-handling SUV in its segment, but it can sure put a smile on your face, especially in Dynamic Mode, where the steering offers more weight and there’s a sense of confidence when driven hard. The suspension setup, however, is tuned more towards offering a better ride (which it does so well over broken roads) and can get slightly wallowy, especially on long corners over undulating roads, which are plenty in our country. 

The Q3 Sportback offers a fresh take on SUVs in the segment and combines the best of the Audi Q range with Sportback styling that grabs a lot of eyeballs. It offers everything one wants from such a body style and is meant for those who want something distinct yet offers SUV convenience and practicality. The Sportback also provides all the features that the regular Q3 does and, as mentioned before, is offered in the sportier S line trim. The SUV costs ₹ 51.43 lakh ex-showroom, which is only a lakh more than the toptier regular Q3. This makes it all the more accessible for buyers looking for a coupe-styled SUV in the entry premium SUV space. The Audi Q3 Sportback stands out in its segment with its distinctive coupe-style silhouette.

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