If vanilla isn’t your favourite flavour, you’ll instantly get the purpose of the Audi Q3 Sportback. For the adventurous palette, it exists simply to make a great car even more flavourful. Starting with the bright, Turbo Blue paint shade, there is a lot of exclusive flavouring that the plain vanilla Q3 simply doesn’t get. Treading the fine line between sportiness and practicality, the Q3 Sportback obviously has an aggressively sloping roofline to give it a distinctive profile. But even the front end gets more butch with large faux air intakes, more brushed silver inserts in the grille and even a new design for the 18in alloys. It all ties in well with the rear section with typical Audi detailing to the LED tail lamps, fake diffusor and more matte silver embellishments. Smart and tidy.
Drive impression: Audi Q3 Sportback
Bringing sportiness back to the SUV
Q3 owners won’t find any reason to feel short-changed since this is almost an identical cabin, which is a good thing. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Plus, plus a smooth touchscreen embedded in a layered dashboard design looks very contemporary. As always with Audi, the quality of materials and build is faultless, but the only customization the potential buyer gets is upholstery shade.
Wireless charging, 10-speaker hi-fi that sounds great for a stock system, a sunroof, and basic ambient lighting make for a nice driving environment. Wireless phone mirroring would’ve been a welcome addition though at this price but you do get USB-C support so we’re halfway there. The persisting physical volume knob is endearing and still works the best in the satisfaction department, especially if you’re from the 70s.
Though the drivetrain is identical to the regular Q3, the Sportback does feel sportier to drive and that is saying something. The 190bhp/320Nm, 2.0 40TFSI petrol powerplant is a pure gem and responds instantly to the slightest tap of the throttle to lunge forward. Turbo lag is well masked in Dynamic mode but it’s in Comfort mode where the ride and handling achieve a sweet spot for urban commuting. It’s so smooth and frictionless that it almost feels like an EV to drive! The suspension is on the softer side but judged perfectly to cushion blows from the bombed-out roads in Mumbai, yet not feel like you’re inside a marshmallow.
Pottering around town, the 7-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox is best left to its devices to sort things out, but the paddle shifts do turn up the fun factor. It zips in and out of traffic with the urgency of a certain “British Bulldog”, but seems more composed and grown up doing it. With all its sporty intentions, I did wish the steering was a bit smaller in diameter and sportier in design, but that is just nitpicking.
With only a hundred Gs separating the regular Q3 from this Sportback edition, it makes a solid case for itself with an added dollop of personality and design over the already kitted-out top-end version of the Q3. It is one of the most fun cars to drive at this price and with the ground clearance along with Quattro AWD, ready for anything within the metros or out of them.
The best variant of the very capable and practical Q3, with more style and panache.