One way for automakers to capitalize even more on the growing customer appetite for SUVs and crossovers is to add coupe-like variants. Audi first did it with the Q8, which is a sportier take on the popular Q7, and now here comes the all-new Q3 Sportback, based on the company’s entry-level SUV.
Compared with the regular, second-generation Q3, the new model appears to have a longer and more athletic stance, helped by the lower roofline in the rear and particularly the more prominent fenders. It’s also two centimetres flatter and blessed with sharp looks from the black Singleframe grille all the way to the roof-mounted spoiler.
On the road, the Audi Q3 Sportback features progressive steering as standard, with the gear ratio becoming increasingly direct as the steering angle increases, and a sport suspension that’s available with damper control to further increase the range between dynamic handling and a comfortable ride. Audi drive select offers six profiles and even includes an off-road mode with hill descent control.
Inside, depending on the equipment, there are sport seats with contrasting stitching and coloured stripes along the side panels. The rear seats can be moved 130 millimetres longitudinally as standard; their backrests are divided into three sections and their inclination can be adjusted in seven stages.
Amazingly, trunk capacity is not affected: 530 litres with the second-row seats in their rearmost position, 672 litres when you slide them forward. The loading floor can be adjusted to two levels and the rear shelf is located beneath it. A power tailgate activated by a foot motion is optional.
Up front, a 10.25-inch or optionally 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, operated through the multifunction steering wheel, combines with a 10.1-inch centre touchscreen angled 10 degrees towards the driver. Just like in the brand’s larger models, it is surrounded by wide, high-gloss black trim.
A new feature is the cloud-based Amazon voice service Alexa, while the myAudi App ensures interconnectivity between the vehicle and the user’s smartphone.
While we have yet to receive confirmation that the Q3 Sportback will come to Canada, expect to find the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine as in the Q3, producing 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque via quattro all-wheel drive.
Deliveries will begin this fall in Europe, so a potential launch here would likely take place next spring or summer. The current Q3 carries a base MSRP of $38,900 and the Sportback variant should be well into the $40k range.