This is the new Audi Q3 Sportback, a four-ringed challenger to the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. Because, it seems, every German SUV maker needs a coupe version of all its SUVs these days.
Oh, how we all scoffed when the BMW X6 – the first SUV-coupe – was launched back in 2008. Everyone thought it was too brash, too impractical and that no-one could possibly want to buy such a thing. As it’s turned out, hundreds of thousands of people have ponied up for an X6 and all the other chopped-down SUVs that followed in its wake.
Anyway, back to the Q3 Sportback. Very little bodywork is shared between the regular Q3 and the Sportback. The roofline in 29mm lower, it’s 16mm longer and fractionally narrower. Though a new 3D-effect grille and extra folds and creases in the bodywork serve to visually broaden the Sportback’s stance.
Different bumpers, a standard-issue gloss black exterior trim pack and a huge rear spoiler further differentiate Sportback from Q3. The ride height remains the same, so the sides have different surfacing that drops the ‘hip-point’ to compensate. Otherwise it would’ve looked a bit squashed.
Inside, the Sportback is little different to the Q3. Car-to-x communication that allows the car to exchange information with the infrastructure around it has been added and the infotainment system can be controlled by Amazon Alexa.
The sloping rear bodywork inevitably eats into rear headroom and bootspace, so sliding and reclining seats have been added. Audi claims that, in the right configuration, boot capacity is the same 530 litres as the standard Q3.
A new, more precise steering system has been bolted in underneath, though the suspension is unchanged. Sports suspension and adaptive dampers are available as options.
A trio of 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo engines are available at launch – a 227bhp petrol and 148bhp and 187bhp diesels. The 148bhp unit comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel-drive, the others get a seven-speed dual-clutcher and quattro four-wheel-drive.
An entry-level 1.5-litre petrol engine with an optional mild-hybrid system will be added to the range next year.
Audi has yet to release performance and economy figures, or prices. We’ll bring you more information as it comes in.
By Graham King