Audi has revealed a new niche SUV in the form of the new Q3 Sportback. While the Q3 Sportback adopts the striking SUV-coupé exterior look, it shares its mechanicals and interior with the standard Q3.
The Sportback receives a raft of specific design elements, including a 29mm drop in roof height and a 16mm increase in overall length. Although it’s actually a fraction narrower than the Q3, it gets a new 3D-profile grille and distinct styling lines aimed at creating the illusion of increased width.
While it has the same ride height as the Q3, the Sportback gets different surfacing to lower the car’s hip point. Details on the Q3 Sportback such as a large roof spoiler, unique bumpers and a standard gloss black trim package also help differentiate between the two SUVs. LED headlights are standard, with full-matrix LEDs available as an option.
Designer Seulah Park claimed the design reflects the decision to use the Q3 Sportback tag rather than the previously considered Q4 name. “We wanted this to be more aggressive and sportier, but we want them to be thought of in the context of a family, like a brother and sister,” she said.
The interior is largely unchanged from the regular Q3’s; down to the driver’s seat mounted at the same height. However, the Q3 Sportback does get a few new technology features, including a ‘car-to-x’ system that can tell you when traffic lights ahead will turn green and the integration of Amazon Alexa voice control. Due to the sloping roof, rear headroom has reduced, but adjustable backrests and sliding rear seats allow the same claimed 530-litre boot capacity as the Q3.
In its mechanical setup, the Q3 Sportback isn’t dramatically different from the Q3. However, there is a steering system with new hardware and a variable ratio aimed at balancing ease of turning for bigger inputs with a precise feel in lower steering angles. The standard suspension setup is the same as the Q3’s. The Sportback can be specced with a sport suspension system as a no-cost option, though adaptive dampers are an optional extra.
There are three engine options available for now – the sole petrol choice is a 230hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder TFSI, while the 2.0-litre diesel is available in 150hp and 190hp states of tune. The 230hp petrol and 190hp diesels are exclusively paired to a 7-speed automatic gearbox and come with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive, while the 148bhp diesel has a 6-speed manual that drives the front wheels.
Early next year, Audi will add a new mild-hybrid petrol engine – a 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit, in the 35 TFSI variant. It continues to feature cylinder-on-demand tech but, when mated with the automatic gearbox, it uses a 48V mild-hybrid system that, on its own, is claimed to save 0.38 litres of fuel per 100km. The integrated starter/generator feeds a compact lithium-ion battery, regenerating power during deceleration to allow engine-off coasting and more stop/start activation.
Performance and fuel efficiency figures for all four engine options will be available at a later date.
There is no word on when Audi will bring the Q3 Sportback to India. The second-gen Q3 is on its way to India early next year to replace the current model on sale here (Rs 34.75-43.61 lakh*). It could bring its swoopy coupe sibling along with it.
*Prices are ex-showroom, pan-India
2019 Audi Q3 Sportback image gallery
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