Published on June 30th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi Q3 Sportback Test Drive Review
Audi designers show the rivals how a car becomes a Q3.
Take a closer look at the side profile of this all new Audi vehicle and you will realize its fastback design which is very much like the Audi A5 Sportback. Simple, take a car, fit some high riding suspension and install some large wheels and you get an athletic looking Crossover.
This is an all new product from Audi and it is called the Q3 Sportback. The Q3 compact SUV is still in production and this is where some confusion might arise with showroom visitors. Yes, both Q3 vehicles carry the same drivetrain but with a different design.
This is the same ‘game’ that is being played by its rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Both have SUV’s like the GLC and X3 and then they have coupe like versions of these SUV’s, GLC Coupe and X4. Lets not forget the Volvo XC40 which now has a coupe sibling called the Volvo C40.
Product planners and marketers will say that they are giving buyers more choices, but we say, you are just confusing a lot of people and with Covid-19, very soon you will be reducing your product variations and lineup as electric vehicles take center stage.
Audi is not seeing better days in Malaysia. Its importer and biggest sales outlet, Euromobil has a full lineup of sedans, crossovers and SUVs on sale since a few months ago and yet the consumer interest seems to lean towards Mercedes-Benz, BMW and lately Volvo Cars. So, this is why you do not see the good looking Audi around the city.
The Audi Q3 Sportback with its low roofline gives way to flat D-pillars and ends in a roof edge spoiler. As a result, the Audi Q3 Sportback appears much longer than its sister model Q3. In addition, the SUV-coupé is almost three centimeters flatter, and thus has a more muscular appearance.
Above the wheels, strong contours draw attention to the quattro drive, which comes as standard with most engines. Many light and shadow effects arise on the plastic-formed rear. The low window, flanked by aero trims, and the sporty bumper, which takes up the look of the air inlets, emphasize the width of the Audi Q3 Sportback. The reversing lights contribute to this as well: they run inwards in a tapered shape, just like the flat headlights. Audi supplies the latter in three versions up to Matrix LED technology, whose adaptive high beam intelligently illuminates the road as best suits the driving situation.
The Audi Q3 Sportback offers driving fun on various terrains. In the city, on long-haul routes, or on easy terrain – the compact crossover is a dynamic all-rounder. It features progressive steering as standard, whose gear ratio becomes increasingly direct as the steering angle increases, and the sport suspension.
On request, the suspension is available with damper control, which further increases the range between dynamism and comfort. Depending on the driving situation, road condition, and personal preferences, the driver can vary the car’s characteristics via the standard dynamic handling system, Audi drive select, in six profiles, including the off-road mode. In addition to the engine and transmission set-up, this system also influences the electronically adjustable shock absorbers and the steering assistance.
Interior and space
The Audi Q3 Sportback is 4.50 m (14.8 ft) long, 1.84 m (6.0 ft) wide and 1.56 m (5.1 ft) high; its wheelbase measures 2.68 m (8.8 ft). This results in a large and highly variable interior. The rear seats offer space for three people. They can be moved 130 mm (5.1 in) longitudinally as standard; their backrests are divided into three sections, and their inclination can be adjusted in seven stages. The volume of the luggage compartment ranges from 530 l (18.7 cu ft) to 1,400 l (49.4 cu ft).
The loading floor can be adjusted to two levels, and the rear shelf is located beneath it. As an option, Audi will deliver an electric tailgate that can also be opened and closed with a foot motion. The front seats – electrically adjustable and heated on request – offer a sporty position and a high level of comfort. Depending on the equipment, there are sport seats with contrasting stitching and colored stripes along the side panels.
In addition, Alcantara surfaces on the instrument panel and the armrests emphasize the progressive design philosophy. In the dark, the optional contour/ambient lighting package sets lighting accents with its 30 selectable colors.
Q3 Sportback Drive
Just like with the A5, this Q3 cabin is driver-focused. All controls are positioned to allow the driver to assimilate their information with a single glance and operate them with ease. The interior of this Q3 comes with leather upholstery as standard and also electric front seats.
The 2.0L TFSI engine can be altered in attitude by using the ‘Drive Select’ control switch, allowing the driver to choose between SPORT and COMFORT mode. The factory programmed SPORT mode provides the driver with a dynamic steering response and powertrain response.
This 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine provides for a top speed of 220km/h when needed from an engine output of 180hp and an impressive mid-range punch of 320Nm of torque. This Q3 sprints from 0-100km/h in just 7.8 seconds with a 7-speed slick shifting double-clutch gearbox.
In the city, this crossover behaves predictably like a hot hatch through corners and the average driver will find themselves slowly being a hero around corners as its high tail stays tucked in at speeds that will leave many others scouring for traction, all this thanks also to the Quattro drive system. The drive comes instantly and with great traction, pulling this Q3 from the apex with neutrality not many drivers can really handle. And unlike it immediate rival (the BMW X2), the rewards seem to come entirely without compromise. The well damped steering wheel is a joy to hold and abuse around corners.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge sells for just RM241k and is less luxurious and the Mercedes GLA250 AMG is at RM285k. Both are local assembled and offer slightly less features.
However, it is the fully imported BMW X2 at RM328,800 that is its direct rival. The X2 is as stylish and well equipped and one could say, less spacious, but we all know that in this segment it is more style and design that matters and little else.
Audi Q3 Sportback Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder Twin-Turbo
Power: 180bhp @ 3,900-6,000rpm
Torque: 320Nm @ 1,400-3,940rpm
Transmission: 7-speed S-Tronic
Top speed: 220km/h
Price: RM301,738.62 (fully imported)