The latest Q3 SUV from Audi is a great all-rounder that oozes style, but the premium quality comes at a premium price, says Ed Coles
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I waited for the Audi Q3 Sportback, Audi’s latest Q range model, to arrive. As it pulled down the driveway, the first impression was that it certainly looked smart. The sleek, almost coupe, silhouette is rather pleasing on the eye and the larger wheels, chrome and two-tone trim definitely draw your attention.
The little grey beast we’re taking a look at is a Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI S Line Quattro. A bit of a mouthful, but plenty to get our teeth into. As an S Line, the trim level is a little more refined and luxurious. I quite like the colour, but if the almost lacquered grey primer isn’t to your taste there are more colours to choose from.
The front is oddly smooth, yet bold, and in keeping with the high-end look from our four-ringed friends from Bavaria. The upgraded lights and indicators add to the drama of the Q3’s sporty look. They are pretty bright, so much so that you could probably leave the lamp at home for nocturnal predator control.
Ground clearance is a reasonable 170mm. With the Quattro permanent 4×4 and optional adaptive suspension, a few off-road excursions should be possible if the road tyres play ball.
Grabbing the faithful feed bag, underneath it looks very flat with all the sorcery safely shielded by industry-standard plastic.
Under the bonnet of the Audi Q3 Sportback
On opening the bonnet, the first surprise is that we can actually see a fair bit of the engine. The 45 TFSI engine is a four-cylinder, two-litre turbo with direct injection and variable valve timing. The Bavarian powerplant stables 230 tiny horses, which gallop out 350Nm of torque. More than enough grunt for towing and we do have a towing pack fitted.
This Q3 comes with a seven-speed sporty automatic gearbox, which like most autos has a manual mode if you fancy taking control.
Boot-wise, it loses a little height compared with the standard Q3, so larger four-legged companions may struggle to stand upright. That said, it’s still a reasonably sized boot — to use the standard Shooting Times measurement, seven full bags of wheat. Plenty of room for shopping, Fido or other sporting kit — 30in barrels in a slip fits comfortably. The rear seats move back and forth, so there’s a bit of room to play with.
The grey Alcantara interior is rather plush and most definitely has a high-end ambience about it. Leather and Alcantara adorns the sport seats, which are fully electric and, with the optional lumber support, all pleasingly comfortable. Surprisingly spacious for a smaller SUV, it doesn’t feel cramped. The panoramic glass roof makes the interior feel a bit bigger too.
This Q3 comes with all the usual toys to play with, as well as some extra gadgets. The Audi phone box with wireless charging is very handy and makes connecting to Apple CarPlay simple. The satnav is exceptional. The crystal clear satellite imagery is next-level witchcraft and you can either have it on the 10in central digital screen or on the instrument cluster so you don’t have to keep looking over.
We have a driver assistance pack, including cruise control, a lane departure system and a few other driving aids. The interior lighting pack lets us select a colour for every mood and is a bit neon cocktail bar, but there is an understated elegance about the interior. A parking camera and gonging acoustic warning mean there’s no excuse for dinking the wheels and bodywork.
Driving the Sportback is a lot of fun and it has six driving modes for all occasions. Channelling our inner Greta Thunberg, we can select Efficiency mode, or if you’re feeling sporty, Dynamic mode will set the pulse racing. There is also Comfort mode, Auto, which adapts to driving and steering inputs, Individual and Off-road.
Around winding country roads, the Sportback feels confident and stable. The level of handling and grip from the Quattro set-up is quite impressive and it almost eggs you on to push it a bit harder. Motorway driving is a breeze and all the driver aids come into their own. But what’s it like off-road?
Despite the road-going low-profile tyres, it performs well. After a little slip-sliding, the electronic sorcery does its thing and it can deal with a rut and bump or two. A touch more ground clearance would be nice at the front, but all in all not bad.
It’s a reasonable all-rounder. You could quite comfortably drop the kids off in the morning then toddle off for some country escapades — all with a certain amount of style and panache. The Q3 Sportback is a premium vehicle — and so is the price.
All the splendour and technical wizardry does come at a cost. The S Line spec version starts off at £39,305 and this one is stacked with extras. The shopping list is quite extensive.
The metallic Chronos grey paint job is an extra £575 and full body paint finish is £250 on top. Sports seats are £400 — add another £675 for them being electric — and the electric lumber adjustment puts an additional £255 on the price tag.
- The larger 19in wheels £975
- Driver assist pack £800
- Adaptive suspension £750
- Advanced key £400
- Fancy LED lights £675
- Storage pack £210
- Ambient lighting £100
- Comfort and sound pack £1,195
- Panoramic roof £1,150
- Tow bar prep £155
- Grey Alcantara interior £375
- Park assist £450
- Virtual cockpit plus £250
- Audi phone box £150
- Road fund licence £1,305
- Delivery charge, half a tank of fuel £660
- First registration fee £55
When totted up, the on-the-road price comes in at a whopping £51,115. Beauty and price are in the eye of the beholder. That said, it is nice.
NEED TO KNOW
- Manufacturer Audi
- Model Q3 Sportback 45 tfsi s Line Quattro
- Power 230bhp, 350Nm of torque
- Top speed 144mph
- 0-62mph 6.5 seconds
- Fuel consumption combined 32.1mpg
- CO2 combined 171g/km
- Towing weight braked 2,100kg
- Unbraked 750kg
A premium vehicle - and so is the price