With its Q8, Audi has become the last of the German luxury car trio to join the SUV coupé trend, and Ingolstadt has now also put a slant on its latest, second-generation Q3 – set to be launched locally next month – combining versatility and efficiency with elegant coupé-inspired lines, according to the automaker.
Billed as the Q3 Sportback, the new Audi compact crossover combines high-riding presence and versatility with sleek curves and sharp handling. Its statement feature is the large, octagonal Singleframe grille with a striking honeycomb structure that underlines its membership of the Audi Q-family.
Its trapezoidal air inlets that are connected to each other by a horizontal blade in the bumper, add emphasis, as do the slim, wedge-shaped headlights that feature LED technology in all versions. The Q3 Sportback is 16 mm longer, 49 mm lower and 6 mm slimmer than the Audi Q3 but share the same 2,680 mm wheelbase.
The coupé-like passenger cab of the compact Sportback stands in contrast to the front that is characterised by clear SUV features. Its low roof line gives way to flat, sloping D-pillars, and its elegant shoulder line runs lower than on the Q3, moving the optical focus downwards to lend a more muscular air.
Above the wheels, strong contours draw attention to the quattro drive that comes as standard with most engine derivatives. At the rear, a long roof edge spoiler emphasises the width of the crossover and the rear lights that reference the design of the LED headlights, also contribute to this. In our view, the Ingolstadt execution of the compact SUV coupé theme is more successful than the X4 and GLC coupé efforts from its BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals.
Four trim lines
The Q3 Sportback will be offered in a choice of Sport, S-line, Edition 1, and top tier Vorsprung trim lines. The 18-inch alloy wheels and LED headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and dynamic rear indicators are standard Sport features. The S-line trim line brings larger 19-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, and an exclusive bumper, sill trims, and diffuser designs, and also adds S-line-specific interior detailing. The Edition 1- and Vorsprung-models upsize to a 20-inch wheel and adds a black styling pack element.
As in the Q3, the interior focal point is a reductive two-level instrument panel incorporating a new 10.1-inch high-resolution MMI touch display with MMI navigation plus system. The various functions are also displayed on the Audi virtual cockpit with its 10.25-inch screen in the instrument binnacle. The panoramic 12.3-inch display is fitted to Edition 1- and Vorsprung-models. The Audi smartphone interface links iOS and Android cell phones and adds two USB ports in the centre console.
The SUV coupé is a fully-fledged five-seater and the rear seats can be moved 130 mm longitudinally. The luggage compartment can accommodate 530 ℓ, and when the seats are folded down, up to 1,400 ℓ is liberated. A powered tailgate is standard.
Mild hybrid later?
While engine options for South Africa are not yet known, expect the Q3 Sportback to be initially powered by a 169 kW 2.0 TFSI petrol and 110 kW 2.0 TDI diesel engine, coupled with a seven-speed S-tronic transmission and quattro drive or a six-speed manual gearbox with quattro or front-wheel-drive in the petrol derivative.
A 140kW version of the 2.0 TDI can be made available shortly after, and perhaps also later the 110 kW 1.5-litre TFSI engine with 48Volt mild hybrid drive that reduces fuel consumption by recovering up to 12 kW of power during deceleration via its belt alternator starter (BAS).
The Audi drive select dynamic handling system with Comfort, Dynamic, Efficiency, Auto, and Individual modes will also be available, as well as an additional Offroad mode. While the highly acclaimed second-generation Q3 will be launched here next month, the Sportback version is only expected to land here in the first quarter of next year.
Text: Paul van Gass | Images: Audi AG