Another day, another segment niche filled: the new Audi Q3 Sportback joins the burgeoning ranks of low-roofed crossovers in the market
Fresh from our international first drive of the more upmarket second-gen Audi Q3, comes news of another body variant to the nameplate: the Q3 Sportback.
Coupe-SUVs are particularly in vogue among the German companies these days; nearly all of them make one, from the BMW X6 that started it all, to the Mercedes-Benz follow-up, the GLE Coupe, to Audi’s very own Q8. Even Porsche just got in on the act, with a Cayenne Coupe.
As is the way with these cars, the Q3 Sportback’s business end is its booty, where the roofline and tailgate taper downward and inward more sharply, cutting the car’s overall height by 3cm in the process and exaggerating the contours of the rear haunches.
Similar to the makeover from Q7 to Q8, Audi has erred on the side of sensibility rather than swoopiness compared to its BMW and Mercedes rivals, and we think the Q3 Sportback looks all the better for it. Rakish rooflines don’t fundamentally work with high-sided flanks, and it’s nice to see that Audi hasn’t forced “coupe-ness” into the Q3 too hard. That said, the Sportback’s rear end does look exceptionally busy, even despite the entire lower section being blacked out.
Unsurprisingly, this also brings benefits in terms of real-world usability. Unlike the X4 and GLC Coupe (currently the two most commonly-spotted Coupe-SUVs on our roads), the Q3 Sportback loses nothing in terms of boot space to its more upright twin – 530-litres with the seats up.
The Sportback’s rear seats can also slide fore and aft, and be reclined in seven different positions, just like in the Q3. It’s certainly a whole lot more versatile than its closest rivals, the BMW X2 and Lexus UX.
From the B-pillar forward though, the Sportback is effectively identical to the Q3, apart from its octagonal front grille being gloss black instead of chrome.
That means the same driver-angled dashboard with 10.1-inch touchscreen, digital instrument panel, and potentially all manner of smartphone-like connectivity options.
Likewise the engines. The only petrol ones announced so far are a 2.0 TFSI unit with 230hp, while a 150hp 1.5-litre mild hybrid will be following up shortly after that.
That said, we learned during the Q3’s test drive that Singapore would be getting a 150hp 1.4-litre in place of the 1.5 for that car, so it’s logical to think that the Q3 Sportback will pan out the same way, although no specifics have been confirmed at this point. With the regular Q3 due in Singapore by year’s end, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the Q3 Sportback until the latter half of 2020.