2023 Audi Q3 Sportback review, road test - style or substance?
If you are looking for a small luxury SUV, more or less every major brand has an option on offer for you. But for that added attention that a coupe SUV brings with it? There's generally not much choice left anymore, especially in the more approachable luxury SUV segments. The Audi Q3 Sportback changes that, becoming the first coupe-SUV of this size to come to India.
2023 Audi Q3 Sportback styling, dimensions, boot space
Following soon after the second-generation Audi Q3 finally landed in India, the Audi Q3 Sportback is 36mm longer and 49mm lower than the regular Q3. These changes have accommodated the much more extroverted rear section of the Sportback.
This bit stands out immediately in the way the roof drops quite aggressively into a raked rear windscreen. The stubby notchback that blends with the rear haunches is another design detail that adds to the more striking look of the Q3 Sportback. That said, there could have been a slimmer set of taillamps more proportionate with the rear design.
The Q3 Sportback also gets the S Line styling package as standard, unlike the standard SUV. This does quite a bit more still to make this version easily the nicer one to look at. You get a dark meshed grille with silver highlights as well as large triangular silver accents on the bumpers. The quite plain 18-inch alloys of the SUV have been replaced by a more aggressive design. In profile, also noticeable is the more elongated, teardrop glass area that enhances the sense of length with the Sportback. The rear bumper design is conspicuous again with its heavy silver accenting and the large, ornamental diffuser elements.
These aside, most of the body panels from the front doors forward are still carried over from the Q3 SUV, although you now get this popping blue shade. Even the boot space is the same in the Sportback as the standard Q3 at 530 litres. The opening is marginally wider and the boot floor is similarly flat and square, although stacking big pieces of luggage will be difficult.
2023 Audi Q3 Sportback interiors, features, space
From the front seats, the cabin of the Audi Q3 Sportback is a straight lift from the regular Q3. So you get that same sharp-edged and technical-looking design with quite a dose of functionality thrown in. The sense of quality is typically Audi too, with hefty switches, tight panel gaps all around and top-tier materials. There's also good space for storage.
That said, that sportier differentiation from the outside could have carried over to the inside of the Audi Q3 Sportback. Aside from some S Line sill plates, the upholstery and materials are all shared with the Q3 SUV. Some sportier seats, metallic pedals or a darker interior theme would have been just the right complement to the S Line theme.
The standard Audi Q3 saw a massive improvement in cabin space with the shift to the MQB architecture with this second-gen model. Those traits have held the Sportback in good stead with this less practical shape. You still have great leg and knee room, unchanged from the SUV, and the seats are similarly well bolstered with great thigh support and cushioning. Of course, there is less headroom than in the SUV, but the scooped-out headlining and lack of a full panoramic sunroof means that you will only find this space cramped if you are closer to 6 feet tall. As with the SUV, the middle passenger should ideally be a child, with the outboard squabs eating into comfort and the high central tunnel. The lack of charging ports here is a stark miss again.
The Q3 Sportback is available in s single Technology Plus trim which gives it equipment like a 10.1-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, powered front seats with lumbar adjustment, dual-zone climate control, wireless charging, leather upholstery, ambient lighting and 6 airbags.
2023 Audi Q3 Sportback driving impressions
The Audi Q3 Sportback is mechanically identical to the standard Q3. So you get the same 2.0-litre turbo-petrol with 190PS and 320 Nm. As with the regular Q3, the engine is paired with a seven-speed DCT and Quattro AWD.
So there are no surprises on the move. The engine can get a bit gruff at higher revs but the gearbox makes sure you are more or less within the fairly wide powerband. This makes progress easy in most situations, although in the normal gearbox mode downshifts can be somewhat hesitant. But the S mode adds quite a touch more urgency and you can toggle through the drive modes to further fine-tune this. The coasting function in the efficiency mode nets the Q3 Sportback some commendable mileage numbers too.
The steering too is precise with just the right heft. As with most luxury SUVs, you might find the ride to be a bit intrusive at low speeds over rough surfaces. But this smoothens out quickly as speeds rise, giving way to a solid and composed feel at higher speeds. The AQWD adds a good sense of control but the Q3 does roll about as much as you would expect from something like this. But this is within the limits of what feels comfortable.
2023 Audi Q3 Sportback verdict, price
At Rs 51.43 lakh, the Audi Q3 Sportback is an expensive proposition. It's Rs 1.04 lakh more than the equivalent Q3 but doesn't have any direct rivals. So you will stand out in a crowd, which is pretty much this SUV's brief. Now it's up to you to decide if the extra money spent is worth the attention, since the Q3 Sportback has the specs, features and driving character to match the more traditional SUVs it'll be judged against.
2023 Audi Q3 Sportback performance, real-world mileage
0 to 100 kmph - 7.9s
30 to 50 kmph - 1.7s
50 to 70 kmph - 1.7s
60 to 80 kmph - 1.9s
100 to 0 kmph - 41.9m, 3.0s
City - 7.71 kmpl
Highway - 14.42 kmpl
Overall - 9.38 kmpl
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