Currently in the automotive industry, the trend is to muddy the waters between the different genres. For example, the border between sedans and coupes is becoming more and more porous (you just have to see the last Peugeot 508 to be convinced!). This trend also applies to the sacrosanct SUV, which draw too blithely their inspirations in other segments. The goal is always the same: to attract an increasing number of motorists.
It’s in the meantime that Audi draws its Q3 Sportback. Sportier version of the Q3, it has a look that clearly tends toward that of a coupe, with its truncated rear. Audi also claims a more dynamic handling than that of the classic Q3, and hopes that this Sportback version will represent 40% of sales of its SUV. So, this constitutes Q3 Does such a sudden swagger or a real trend sportier version Q3 ? To find out, I went to try it in Spain, in the Valencia region!
Style: Q3 transformed?
Before approaching this style chapter, a vocabulary point is necessary.
At Audi, the Sportback versions designate the body 5-door "dynamic profile». This term, used mostly on sedans the brand is applied for the first time on an SUV with the Q3 Sportback. And the least we can say is that the work carried out by Audi quickly jumps to the eyes.
Slightly longer than the classic Q3 (+ 16 mm), the Sportback Q3 is mostly lower (- 29 mm, and it shows!). In profile, there is a lowered (and more marked) body shoulder, a plunging roof line, as is the thick rear spoiler. At the front, the changes are more measured, even if we still note the Singleframe grille with honeycomb grid, which is specific to the model.
Put end to end, all these elements upset the general line of Q3. More than a simple marketing appellation, this Sportback version transforms the Q3, which indeed swaps the classicism of good quality from the classic version for a resolutely dynamic line.
Above all, and this is really appreciable, the Q3 Sportback has the good taste of not pouring into the ostentatious side (who said vulgar?) Of certain Coupé SUVs. It’s very happy.
A very flattering interior, but …
I will not procrastinate: if the claw Sportback is clearly visible on the outside, the interior is itself identical to the classic version. We thus find a board horizontal edge, marked by a thick center section and a central screen facing the driver.
Depending on the version, there is the Audi virtual cockpit more than 12.3 inches, a.k.a the popular digital instrumentation home. As usual, the ergonomics are exemplary, and all orders inspire seriousness expected of a production brand.
If Sportback Q3 puts the full term for presentation and perceived quality, and the impression it creates is generally (very) flattering, it must still be noted that certain plastics clash in the lower part (especially at the center console, but also against the doors).
Misconceptions have thick skin: the Germans are reputed as austere. Without going to talk about extravagance, this Q3 Sportback does not deserve that label. This will make it possible for the customer to customize a bit his dashboard, with the choice of several decorative sconces (five in total). Note also the "light mood pack", which allows you to adjust the backlighting of doors and the central tunnel, with a total of 30 (!) Colors available.
Unchanged practical aspects
Despite the slightly revised dimensions compared to the classic Q3, the wheelbase of the Sportback version is unchanged, and its sporty line therefore has no effect on the space on board.. We also note that the rear seat can slide 13 cm, which allows you to vary between the space offered to passengers and the volume of the trunk. There is a fair headroom becomes problematic for the rear passengers who are more than 1.80 m.
Similarly, and despite a swooping roofline, the boot volume is unchanged, since still offers 530 liters. A good point !
On the road: resolutely dynamic driving
Let's start with an important point: I did not have the opportunity to try the classic version of Q3. So I do not have a point of comparison to the latter, so it will be impossible for me to say that the Q3 Sportback offers a more dynamic than the latter.
That being said, I enjoyed complete self often on winding roads of the hinterland Spanish. Obviously, Audi requires, do not expect a moving train back, or another form of eccentricity.
Failing to show so frivolous, Q3 Sportback offers however a very safe road holding, with a stability of every moment. The icing on the cake, it is even quite dynamicAnd I really enjoyed the lead drum beating, especially on mountain roads between Valencia and Alicante. Despite a center of gravity necessarily higher than a sedan, the car offers real agility, and as always when it comes to quattro variations a motor of every moment.
I must say that the car has in mounts automatically a sports progressive leadership, the report varies with the steering angle. What good steering angle combine urban fashion and more precise steering in sporty driving. Similarly, the Q3 has Sportback Audi drive select series, which offers six driving modes, which affect the engine, transmission, but also damping (adaptive dampers are available depending on the configuration chosen), or even the laws of steering. Finally, and at no additional cost, the customer can choose a sport suspension.
If my impressions are flattering as regards the chassis, I however was less convinced by the first mechanical tested: 35 version (TDI with S tronic 7) powered by a 2.0 L TDI 150 hp. If this engine propels the car so all in all correct and offers moderate fuel consumption, lengthens and his lack of grip in the times just do not stick with the line and the dynamic driving characteristics of the car.
The bell sound is radically different on advanced version of the gasoline range: Version 45 TFSI. Box 230 hp (350 Nm torque), this gives 2.0 turbo self temperament that goes with its plastic.
0 to 100 km / h takes only 6.5 seconds and raises are very serious, despite the 1,700 kg of all. If the S tronic gearbox generally shows smoothness in casting, we regret the fact that it does not leave us entirely in manual control, via the paddles on the steering wheel.
Range and prices of the Q3 Sportback
The Q3 Sportback range is built around 3 petrol engines, from 150 to 230 hp, and 2 diesel engines, from 150 and 190 hp. 4 trim levels are offered, and as usual it is the S line range finish umbrella.
Prices range from 37,330 Euros (Q3 SB 35 BVM6 TFSI) to 53,560 Euros (45 TFSI quattro S Line S trunk 7). Count 3,000 Euros more than a classic Q3. An additional cost is not excessive given the additional equipment, and the line of the car.
Strong points :
+ Undeniably successful line
+ Dynamic driving
+ Interior presentation, ergonomics
+ Reasonable additional cost compared to the classic version
+ Version 45 TFSI muscular and efficient
Weak points :
– Disappointing 35 TDI version
-Stronic 7 box a little castrating
-Quality of certain materials in the lower part
Conclusion: A successful mix of genres!
I admit I had a little crush on this Audi Q3 Sportback. With its sporty and well differentiated from classical variation, but remaining at the same time (relatively) discreet, Audi has not yielded to the lure of flashy or ostentatious, unlike some cut SUV. Another good surprise, its handling, resolutely dynamic, is my faith very pleasant on winding route. If you leave out the dull 35 TDI version and opt for the powerful 45 TFSI version, you get a very convincing car. It remains to deal with the rates, as always quite elitist …