Audi Q3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI qu S Tronic Review
Sibling Rivalry

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
4 Aug 2020
 

Quality plastic meets aluminum in the finest way here, with signature Audi fit and finish.

With the surge in SUV demand in recent years, automobile manufacturers have been looking at ways to game the market differently. Since they have “put the coupe into the sedan”, bringing about in Audi’s case, the stunning A7 - a fancier-pancier A6 with a lower roofline, cooler lights and that stance… ah yes I could continue to gush… But how could they not “put the coupe into the SUV”?

In-fact, this has really gone on for quite a while, but with mixed results. The second generation Q3 which is now also offered as a coupe, or ‘Sportback’ in Audi talk, is truly quite a head-turner. 

The Q3 Sportback sits slightly lower than the regular car, mostly thanks to its lower roofline and they have also omitted the roof rails. This also accentuates the Sportback’s stylised flared wheel arches. If you squint a little, you could almost certainly see a little bit of Lamborghini Urus being channeled. The long rear spoiler visually stretches the roofline, and works well with the Sportback’s slight increase in front and rear overhangs.

To further distinguish the sportier car, Audi has made efforts to restyle the Sportback’s front end, where it prominently shows off its triangular styling on its intakes. The grille has also been swapped out for a fancier honeycomb design, with metallic accents which highlights the front of the car.

At the rear, where most of the difference is, the Q3 Sportback also receives extensive bumper restyling, and Audi has also done away with the faux tailpipes.

Inside

While changes are abound on the exterior, the Q3 Sportback interior is identical to the SUV variant. Quality plastic meets aluminum in the finest way here, with signature Audi fit and finish. Our test car is equipped with alcantara accenting, which visually breaks the dash into two sections.

With the Audi Virtual Cockpit, drivers are treated to a choice of three display modes. The 10.1” MMI touch display recognises your scribbles, making it easier to key in, and in this case scribble down your destination of choice. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, enabling you to connect your mobile device of choice to the infotainment system. While Apple CarPlay benefits from wireless connectivity, Android users will have to make do with a cabled connection. A phone wireless charging pad is available for keeping your mobile device juiced up, and you also cleverly get both USB-A and USB-C ports at your disposal.

Adding to personal comfort, dual-zone air-conditioning is standard, and rear passengers also benefit from rear vents, with their own dedicated thermostat.

The Q3 Sportback’s 2,680mm wheelbase, which is identical to the SUV variant, means that legroom is sufficient for four adult passengers, although there is lesser headroom especially for rear passengers (928mm - Sportback vs 978mm - SUV); that said, the average adult passenger will have no problems with the sloping roof at the rear, and thanks to some clever re-working of the rear seats.

Even with the sloping rear-end, luggage space has not been compromised, with the Sportback boasting an identical-to-SUV 530 litres; the same since measurement of the boot ends where the windows begin (the BMW X2 provides 470 litres). Additional space can be made with the 60:40 style rear seats rolled forward, or folded down to swallow up to 1,400 litres.

The Drive

Under the hood, our test car is equipped with Audi’s 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder, producing 180ps and 320Nm, the latter maxes between 1,500 and 4,100rpm. Drive is through a 7-speed S Tronic dual-clutch transmission, and we like that the 2.0 is equipped with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) system. This helps to better distribute the added grunt, and also gives you the advantage of taking off from the lights quickly, with the car sending more of its drive to the rear wheels. The added traction allows you to be in-front of the pack faster than you can say Jack Robinson… if Jack Robinson is a metaphor for a 7.4 second 100km/h sprint time. More importantly, the engine and transmission are well sorted, and the Q3 performs very well in Singapore’s often dynamic traffic situations.

Something I appreciate about the 2.0 model over the 1.4 litre one, is that since it is able to deliver more shove, you can easily get around in ‘Eco’ mode, with its transmission relaxed and upshifting earlier, without the Q3 feeling too sluggish, and you can do this while keeping pace with surrounding traffic. Learning to lift off the throttle whenever possible and allowing the car to coast, dis-engages the transmission, which helps you further reduce your consumption. Audi claims just 12.7km/l combined, but I believe that you would be able to do something closer to 13.5km/l.

While the engine and transmission do their work up-front, the interior of the Q3 is a pleasant place to be in, with seats which are supportive, and some good insulation all around. In-fact build quality is easily comparable to the Q5 and even the Q8.

With its very slightly firm suspension setup and 19” alloys, and Quattro AWD, the Q3 Sportback offers you an entertaining time through turns, where you will appreciate the accuracy of its steering. Due to the Q3 riding higher than a regular car, there is its taller centre-of-gravity which attempts to unsettle the car. But overall, the Q3 Sportback feels planted.

Since it has a quattro drivetrain, Audi has also included an ‘Off-Road’ mode within its drive settings, and features wheel-selective torque control, meaning that you can take this sophisticated city slicker off the beaten path. Well… just slightly.

Even with its compact footprint, backing up and turning within tight confines has been made easier with a 360 camera, and a split display on the infotainment screen. The system logically switches from either rear or front view, depending if you are in ‘Drive’ or ‘Reverse’.

Overall, we do like that the Q3 Sportback absolutely shines “styling and profiling”, while delivering a satisfying driving experience to match.

Our Thoughts

As pretty as it is, at $200,161*, the 2.0 Audi Q3 Sportback might be a tough pill to swallow, and for about $15k more, you can snag yourself a base variant BMW X3, which is simply more car albeit with two less driving wheels.

Among its similarly sized rivals like the Jaguar E-Pace (though high-spec ones are easily more powerful), the Audi is overall more balanced, better-built, and generally more attractive with an entertaining drive, and has a better infotainment system.

As the market is saturated with SUVs, there is plenty to choose from. You could also go a little cheaper, with something unique from say... the Volkswagen Group’s sub-premium brand, SEAT, with its new CUPRA performance sub-brand offering its first car, the CUPRA Ateca.

*Accurate at time of publication

#Singapore #SG #TestDrive #Roadtest #Car #SUV #Coupe #Audi #AudiQ3Sportback #AudiQ3 #Compact #Luxury #Blue #Quattro #vorsprungdurchtechnik

In Summary

We Like

Premium build quality, arguably the best in-class. Lovely to drive and to look at. Still very practical.

We Don't

Pricing might be a little too high, not helped by the $10K VES surcharge. No USB ports for rear passengers.

Verdict

An attractive compact premium Coupe-SUV which drives well, and is as easy to like as it is to live with; and is very practical too.

Car Loan Calculator - Audi Q3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI

SGD 200,161 (6 Aug 2020)

This car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1984cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 177bhp
Torque 320Nm
Power to Weight 109.3 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.8s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 220 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 12.7 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DCT
Drive Type F4
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4484 x 1856 x 1616) mm
Wheelbase 2680 mm
Kerb Weight 1620 kg
Boot Capacity 530 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs