The Audi Q3 Sportback is a couple-styled compact SUV that is powered by a 2L turbocharged TFSI engine, producing 188 bhp and 320nm of torque. It is equipped with Quattro all wheel drive and offers a more stylish exterior stying that a regular Q3. Despite the focus on style, the Q3 Sportback is still very practical, offering 530L of boot space, and still comes with Audi mainstay features like Audi's Virtual Cockpit and multi-function steering wheel, which you also find on the Audi Q3.
In a bid to provide better value to consumers amid rising COE environments, Audi has released a 2L version of the Audi Q3 Sportback that now comes with Quattro all wheel drive as standard, making it the only version of the Q3 Sportback that consumers can buy at this current moment. On the surface, the configuration seems rather strange - after all, who really needs a 2L Q3 Sportback with all wheel drive in Singapore? Yet when you take a deeper look at the equipment list of the Q3 Sportback, you get a sneaky feeling that Audi have put plenty of thought has been put into spec-ing this car, providing it with an equipment list that is good where it matters. The end result is a car that provides value for money against its competitors, great looks, and just enough technology to keep consumers smiling for a couple more years.
From a design standpoint, I am of the opinion that the Q3 Sportback is one of the best looking cars in its class - if not the best. In stock form and wheels, the car does blend into the background a little bit, but jack up those wheels to a larger size, and you immediately get a sense of how beautiful this compact sized, couple-styled SUV can be. What I particularly like about the car, is its ability to look and feel androgynous. Muscular lines and dominant front styling remind me of an armoured car, while a sexy rear end and some quirky colours like the Dew Silver Metallic paint job on our test car give it a more demure and elegant demeanour. Put together, the car is easy to like from all angles and is something that both Mom & Dad are likely to agree on at the showroom. In Singapore, where most households operate with just one car, this mutual appreciation for a car's styling could prove very valuable indeed.
While a new BMW X1 is inevitably on the way and will look quite a bit more futuristic that its current iteration, when you put the Q3 Sportback against its closest competitors like the X1 and the Mercedes GLA in a straight up beauty contest, it is in my opinion a no contest where the Q3 Sportback is clearly the most desirable looking car. There is a sense that it is the most grown up, most complete, and in its current configuration, also the one with the most refined drivetrain. Sure, some may argue my point about desirability based on brand preference, but it is hard to deny that in the world of entry level continental SUVs, the Q3 Sportback is an extremely strong contender.
Inside the car, the Q3 Sportback could be seen as falling a little flat in terms of the lux-factor offered, especially in Audi's mainstay black or grey interiors. A gear selector that looks like it came straight out of a VAG parts bin doesn't do the interior any favours either. Material use is rather utilitarian, and might be a little bit hard to accept if you're the kind that is used to stitched leather interiors and soft touch materials all around. However, if you take a step back and view the cabin as a whole, there is a certain retro-tech vibe that one could derive from the interior, and the Q3 Sportback feels like something that Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy might drive if he dwelled on earth - but I'll admit that opinion is highly subjective. What is not so subjective however, is the fact that the Q3's interior is extremely well put together, and delivers the same excellent build quality that we have come to expect from Audi cars. The 10.1" Audi MMI infotainment unit and Audi's Virtual Cockpit also do plenty to keep the Q3 feeling refreshed and relevant, and to me, are still one of the best infotainment and digital driver displays on the market today.
On the road, the Q3's 2L - 4 cylinder power unit produces 188 bhp and 320Nm of torque, helping the car go from 0- 100km/h in an easy 7.3 seconds. Like the Tiguan, with whom it shares a power unit, the Q3 Sportback is quick off the line around town, but has the tendency to sound a little bit clattery when accelerating around city driving speeds - perhaps a side effect of the car's all wheel drive setup. Up on highway speeds however, the car feels a lot more at ease with itself, offering drivers big-car cruising capabilities with lovely coasting characteristics. The ride is firm but comfortable, and insulation is top notch, with very little road noise coming up from the wheel hubs, as commonly seen with compact SUVs. On top of decent ride quality and excellent insulation, rear passengers will also appreciate that despite being a coupe-style SUV, Audi have been spot on with the design, ensuring that rear passengers have enough headroom. In an environment where most other similarly sized couple styled SUVs have sacrificed headroom for the sake of that sloping roofline, this is a big and understated win.
Overall, the Q3 Sportback will definitely appeal to those who are shopping for an entry level continental coupe-styled SUV due to its good looks and polished outlook. While I would be more inclined to work with a 1.5L Mild Hybrid, front wheel drive version of the Q3 Sportback, the 2L power unit does at this current moment, provide some differentiation and value from its competitors like the X1, GLA, and E-Pace, who are priced similarly but operate more reserved drivetrains. For those who can look past the slightly bland looking interior, they will be rewarded with a car that is extremely well rounded, very well built, and still boasts one of the best infotainment and digital driver's display systems on the market.