Cars/ Road-test/ Audi Q3 Sportback | New Coupe SUV On The Block | Road Test Review

Audi Q3 Sportback | New Coupe SUV On The Block | Road Test Review

The Q3 Sportback is the new Coupe SUV on the block and aims to steal the limelight from vehicles that sit a segment above.

For

Dashing looks, exciting performance, ease of driving

Against

Plain looking key fob, missing few key features

Overview

You’re probably already familiar with the Audi Q3 launched towards the end of last year. It was a new generation based on a new platform. It had grown in dimensions and matured into a more well-rounded luxury SUV. Well, if it wasn’t striking enough for you, Audi launched its more dapper counterpart in the form of the all-new Audi Q3 Sportback. It earned its “Sportback” moniker thanks to its coupe-like roofline and Coupe SUV design. Once upon a time, the BMW X6 existed as the only oddball in that shape, and now you’ve got everything from big GLEs to Q8s in that shape. SUV’s are meant to be reasonably practical, be it to travel across the country or to be a comfortable family haulier. Coupe SUVs aim to achieve the same, be it with a tad more flamboyance.

Though once saved only for the most expensive variants, Coupe SUVs have now trickled down and started to become more and more accessible to the public. Maruti Suzuki’s Fronx is the newest addition to this category, bringing the price to buy into this design even further. At some point, buying a Coupe SUV seemed silly due to the apparent compromise in practicality without any actual gain in performance. However, times have changed, and vehicles have grown significantly in size. This growth has practically ironed out all the practicality issues. Take the all-new Q3 Sportback, for example; its coupe-like roofline would suggest a lack of space for someone of my height. I had no issue with the back of the Q3 Sportback.

Though if you’re anywhere above 6’1, you may struggle with this back seat. Thanks to that lower roofline, Ingress and Egress can be an issue, but it’s not a primary deal breaker to me. The Q3 Sportback has a sense of occasion to it, and in this exclusive Turbo Blue paint scheme, it looks as dashing as most vehicles that cost nearly twice as much. It drops the stylish trim bits from the regular Q3 for the S-Line kit. With a revised honeycomb grill, a more aggressive front and rear bumper design, and a new set of wheels, the Q3 Sportback is quite a head-turner.

The motor remains unchanged, and the Q3 Sportback is powered by the same four-cylinder petrol motor that powers the Q3. It produces sufficient power and works well in tandem with the Quattro system. Combined together, they give the Q3 Sportback phenomenal grip and agility. Audi claims a similar 0-100 km/hr time of just 7.2 seconds, and performance between the two remains unchanged. 

The Q3 Sportback isn’t the most fuel-efficient car in its segment, and fuel efficiency figures will just about make it to double-digit numbers. The 7-speed DSG gearbox does a fantastic job shifting cogs at lightning speeds and is always one step ahead of you, and is smart enough to predict what gear you oughta be in next. Overall the Audi Q3 was already the sportiest and quickest to drive in its segment, and it doesn’t change with the Q3 Sportback. 

Step inside the Q3 Sportback, and you get Audi’s virtual cockpit, a wireless charging box, Audi’s MMI navigation, driving modes, ambient lighting and a decent sound system. The brown colour interior looks classy and goes well with its blue exterior. The interior remains virtually the same as the regular Q3, with the only key difference being a regular sunroof as opposed to the panoramic sunroof on the Q3 and the narrower rear viewing angle. The build quality is quite sturdy and feels well put together, which is typical of Audi. The overall layout, too, is relatively minimal and neatly laid out. The interior felt a bit plain compared to its rather sporty and striking exterior, and I wish Audi would have done something funkier with it. 

The seats of the Q3 Sportback are comfortable and are well bolstered. Though I would have hoped for a sportier design with the S-Line package. Additionally, there are no ventilated seats or memory function, which is disappointing at this price range. Step into the backseat, and the comfort continues with the rear seats allowing for recline adjustment. I wonder if anyone will buy this vehicle to be chauffeur driven, which is best suited for a small family. 

The overall ride quality is decent, and the suspension is slightly stiffer. This aids its composure but allows many thuds to creep in, even over tiny bumps. The steering, too, feels relatively light but lacks feedback. This is no deal breaker in the city, but it can rob you of some fun around twisty roads. The cabin, too, is quiet for the most part but probably not the quietest in its segment. 

The Audi Q3 Sportback is quite a beauty, and for just a lakh and a half more, you get way more style while packing similar practicality as a regular Q3. Even the boot size remains unchanged and packs 530 litres of capacity while still packing a spare wheel underneath. The Q3 Sportback is as equipped as the top-end Technology Plus variant on the Q3 and is quite a bargain for what you get. Packed with dashing more looks and similar equipment, the Q3 Sportback is undeniably beautiful and looks like a shrunk-down Q8. The Q3 is the most expensive car in its segment, and to any potential buyer, the Q3 Sportback is a rather tempting proposition. 

The Q3 Sportback also needs more real competition in its segment and only stands to be challenged by vehicles from the segment above. The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe and the BMW X4 are the only competitors that come close and cost over 10 lakhs more, which makes the more affordable Q3 Sportback seem even more tempting.



TopGear Magazine February 2024