Q3 Sportback: Design, Interior, Driving

The strengths of an SUV and the attractions of a coupe are given equal billing in the new Audi Q3 Sportback, which will be available to order in the UK from next month to complement the acclaimed second generation Q3 range. Combining high-riding presence and versatility with sleek curves and sharp handling, the new Audi compact crossover will be offered in a choice of Sport, S line, Edition 1 and top tier Vorsprung trim lines, and will arrive with its first UK customers in the autumn.

Q3 Sportback Exterior

Q3 Sportback Exterior

Low roofline, muscular body: the design
The Audi Q3 Sportback is a car for customers who value expressive design as highly as technical innovation and dynamic aptitude. Its statement feature is the large, octagonal Single-frame which underlines its membership of the new Audi Q family. Here, its silver finish forms the outline of a particularly striking honeycomb grille structure. The trapezoidal air inlets, which are connected to each other by a horizontal blade in the bumper, also add emphasis, as do the slim, wedge-shaped headlights, which feature LED technology in all versions.

The Audi Q3 Sportback measures 4,500 mm in length, stands 1,567 mm tall (including the roof antenna), and is 1,843 mm wide. This makes the SUV coupe 16 mm longer, 49 mm lower and 6 mm slimmer than the Audi Q3. The wheelbase is exactly 2,680 mm (8.8 ft) in both models and forms the basis for an appropriately generous interior space allowance.

At the rear, a long roof edge spoiler sits above the slim window to emphasise the width of the crossover. The rear lights, which reference the design of the LED headlights, also contribute to this. A diffusor with a wide blade and two conspicuous ribs forms the bottom section.

Elegantly dynamic: the exterior variants
The new Q3 Sportback will be available in a choice of 11 paint colours, all of which are combined with contrasting bumpers and arches in a Manhattan Grey paint finish. 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 design for the bumpers, sill trims and diffuser, and also adds S line-specific interior detailing. Above it, the Edition 1 and Vorsprung models go a step further by upsizing to a 20-inch wheel and adding a black styling pack colouring elements such as the grille surround and window cappings. They also upgrade to Matrix LED lighting technology for maximum illumination through dimming of individual segments of the headlamp unit to divert the beam around leading and oncoming traffic.

Q3 Sportback Interior

Q3 Sportback Interior

Driver-oriented: the interior
The sleekly sculpted exterior is complemented by a sophisticated cabin design inspired by the brand’s full-size models. Its focal point is a reductive two-level instrument panel incorporating the new 10.1-inch high resolution MMI touch display giving access to the top-of-the-line MMI navigation plus system which is standard for all UK Q3 Sportback models. The various functions are displayed on the MMI Touch display and in the Audi virtual cockpit with its 10.25-inch screen in the instrument binnacle, which is also standard. An even more panoramic version with additional functions – the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus – is fitted to Edition 1 and Vorsprung models. Function control is possible via the central touch screen or the multi-function steering wheel, and all UK Q3 models are also equipped with new natural-language voice control, which responds to enquiries not only with the benefit of information stored on board, but also with detailed knowledge from the cloud.

The Audi connect portfolio which is offered on a three-year subscription basis as standard for all UK versions supplements the navigation using the LTE Advanced standard. It provides its services in virtually all European countries via a SIM card which is permanently installed in the vehicle. These services include the high resolution satellite images of Google Earth, traffic information online, the point-of-interest search as well as information on parking spaces and filling stations, which appear directly on the navigation map – where necessary also with dynamic additional information such as prices and availability. Audi connect also includes media streaming, online news, access to Twitter and to the e-mail inbox. A Wi-Fi hotspot is also available as an option.

A range of hardware modules supplements the infotainment portfolio. The Audi smartphone interface which is standard in the UK links customers’ iOS and Android cell phones and places their Apple Car Play or Android Auto environment on the MMI display. It also adds two USB ports in the centre console which offer a loading and data function for playing music from a portable media player via the loudspeakers in the car. One of them is compatible with the new type C with fast transfer rates.

The SUV coupe has been designed as a fully-fledged five seater. The supportive front sports seats are upholstered in either full cloth in Sport models, a combination of cloth and Twin leather in the S line, full Twin leather in the Edition 1 or an Alcantara and Twin leather blend in the Vorsprung. The front seats are also electrically adjustable and heated as standard in Edition 1 and Vorsprung models.

Broad range: the engines
In the first launch phase two engines will power the new Audi Q3 Sportback in the UK – one TFSI and one TDI – both of which have been certified to the Euro 6d-TEMP emission standard. The four-cylinder direct injection units use turbocharging and are fitted with a particulate filter. The 2.0 TDI provides 150PS in the Q3 Sportback 35 TDI while the 2.0 TFSI in the Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro offers 230PS. Soon after launch a 190PS version of the 2.0 TDI will join the range exclusively in conjunction with quattro drive in the Q3 Sportback 40 TDI quattro.

Q3 Sportback

Q3 Sportback

Agile on and off the road: the suspension
Whether in town, on country roads or on the motorway the Q3 Sportback is fully composed and in control. Sport settings for the front MacPherson strut and four-link rear set-up are standard across the range in the UK, and strike an impressive balance between absorbency and assured handling.

Vorsprung models are even more adept in all situations thanks to their standard electronically controlled adaptive dampers, the settings for which can be adjusted via the standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system with its Comfort, Dynamic, Efficiency, Auto and Individual modes. For off-road use, an additional Offroad mode is also available, and the standard hill descent control can help to maintain a preset speed on inclines away from the beaten track. All versions also benefit from standard progressive steering, the ratio of which becomes gradually more direct as the steering angle increases.

Outstanding in any situation: the assist systems
In the Audi Q3 Sportback, four systems are included as standard to further assist the driver. Audi pre sense basic initiates preventative safety measures for occupants as soon as it recognises an unstable driving state, using information from various vehicle systems to determine this. For instance, it intervenes if the electronic stabilisation control (ESC) sensors detect skidding or hard braking. The system then tightens the front seat belts electrically, closes the windows and activates the hazard warning lights in order to alert traffic behind the vehicle. Audi pre sense front detects collision risks in front of the car by means of front radar and also registers pedestrians and cyclists in addition to vehicles. In a critical situation, the system warns the driver optically, acoustically and haptically. In an emergency, it initiates full braking and implements the Audi pre sense basic measures.

Article posted by Matt Sumner
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