The strengths of an SUV and the attractions of a coupé are given equal billing in the new Audi Q3 Sportback, which will be available to order in the UK from next month to complement the acclaimed second generation Q3 range. Combining high-riding presence and versatility with sleek curves and sharp handling, the new Audi compact crossover will be offered in a choice of Sport, S line, Edition 1 and top tier Vorsprung trim lines, and will arrive with its first UK customers in the autumn.
Low roofline, muscular body: the design
The Audi Q3 Sportback is a car for customers who value expressive design as highly as technical innovation and dynamic aptitude. Its statement feature is the large, octagonal Singleframe which underlines its membership of the new Audi Q family. Here, its silver finish forms the outline of a particularly striking honeycomb grille structure. The trapezoidal air inlets, which are connected to each other by a horizontal blade in the bumper, also add emphasis, as do the slim, wedge-shaped headlights, which feature LED technology in all versions.
The Audi Q3 Sportback measures 4,500 mm in length, stands 1,567 mm tall (including the roof antenna), and is 1,843 mm wide. This makes the SUV coupé 16 mm longer, 49 mm lower and 6 mm slimmer than the Audi Q3. The wheelbase is exactly 2,680 mm (8.8 ft) in both models and forms the basis for an appropriately generous interior space allowance.
The coupé-like passenger cab stands in contrast to the front, which is characterised by clear SUV features. Thanks to the low roof, which gives way to flat, sloping D-pillars, the side view of the Audi Q3 Sportback makes it appear clearly longer than its sister model Q3. In reality, it is a difference of only 16 mm. In addition, the SUV coupé’s 49mm lower roof curvature, and the elegant shoulder line that runs lower than in the Q3, moves the body’s optical focus downwards to lend a more muscular air. Above the wheels, strong contours draw attention to the quattro drive, which comes as standard with most engines. Shadowing at the bottom of the door also emphasises the midsection of the SUV coupé and reinforces its more sporting stance.
At the rear, a long roof edge spoiler sits above the slim window to emphasise the width of the crossover. The rear lights, which reference the design of the LED headlights, also contribute to this. A diffusor with a wide blade and two conspicuous ribs forms the bottom section.
Driver-oriented: the interior
The sleekly sculpted exterior is complemented by a sophisticated cabin design inspired by the brand’s full-size models. Its focal point is a reductive two-level instrument panel incorporating the new 10.1-inch high resolution MMI touch display giving access to the top-of-the-line MMI navigation plus system which is standard for all UK Q3 Sportback models. The various functions are displayed on the MMI Touch display and in the Audi virtual cockpit with its 10.25-inch screen in the instrument binnacle, which is also standard. An even more panoramic version with additional functions - the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus – is fitted to Edition 1 and Vorsprung models. Function control is possible via the central touch screen or the multi-function steering wheel, and all UK Q3 models are also equipped with new natural-language voice control, which responds to enquiries not only with the benefit of information stored onboard, but also with detailed knowledge from the cloud.
The Audi connect portfolio which is offered on a three-year subscription basis as standard for all UK versions supplements the navigation using the LTE Advanced standard. It provides its services in virtually all European countries via a SIM card which is permanently installed in the vehicle. These services include the high resolution satellite images of Google Earth, traffic information online, the point-of-interest search as well as information on parking spaces and filling stations, which appear directly on the navigation map – where necessary also with dynamic additional information such as prices and availability. Audi connect also includes media streaming, online news, access to Twitter and to the e-mail inbox. A Wi-Fi hotspot is also available as an option.
A range of hardware modules supplements the infotainment portfolio. The Audi smartphone interface which is standard in the UK links customers’ iOS and Android cell phones and places their Apple Car Play or Android Auto environment on the MMI display. It also adds two USB ports in the centre console which offer a loading and data function for playing music from a portable media player via the loudspeakers in the car. One of them is compatible with the new type C with fast transfer rates.
The Audi phone box which is standard for Vorsprung models permits inductive wireless charging of mobile handsets, while the Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with virtual 3D sound – another standard Vorsprung feature which is optional for all other versions as part of the Comfort and Sound pack – can call on 15 loudspeakers, four of them in the instrument panel and one in each D-pillar, to deliver incredible, spatial sound.
The SUV coupé has been designed as a fully-fledged five seater. The supportive front sports seats are upholstered in either full cloth in Sport models, a combination of cloth and Twin leather in the S line, full Twin leather in the Edition 1 or an Alcantara and Twin leather blend in the Vorsprung. The front seats are also electrically adjustable and heated as standard in Edition 1 and Vorsprung models.
The rear seats can be moved 130 mm longitudinally as standard; their backrests are divided into three sections, and their inclination can be adjusted in seven stages. Behind the rear seats, the luggage compartment can accommodate 530 litres, and when they are folded down up to 1,400 litres is liberated. A standard powered tailgate makes gaining access to this space easy, and for added convenience the loading floor can be used at various levels.
Broad range: the engines
In the first launch phase two engines will power the new Audi Q3 Sportback in the UK - one TFSI and one TDI - both of which have been certified to the Euro 6d-TEMP emission standard. The four-cylinder direct injection units use turbocharging and are fitted with a particulate filter. The 2.0 TDI provides 150PS in the Q3 Sportback 35 TDI while the 2.0 TFSI in the Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro offers 230PS. Soon after launch a 190PS version of the 2.0 TDI will join the range exclusively in conjunction with quattro drive in the Q3 Sportback 40 TDI quattro.
48V mild hybrid drive now for 1.5 TFSI S tronic
Another notable post-launch introduction will be the 1.5-litre TFSI engine which will follow in the Audi Q3 Sportback 35 TFSI. It provides 150PS and is aided by cylinder-on-demand technology, which at low and medium loads deactivates the second and third cylinders to reduce consumption.
Equally importantly, when combined with S tronic transmission it also now features another efficiency technology cascaded from the classes above: the mild-hybrid drivetrain (MHEV), which uses a 48 V on-board electrical system. This further reduces fuel consumption by recovering up to 12kW of power during deceleration via its belt alternator starter (BAS) and feeding this into a compact lithium-ion battery. If the driver lifts off the throttle at speeds of between 24mph and 99mph, the Q3 Sportback 1.5 TFSI MHEV rolls in neutral or coasts with the engine switched off. The engine management system selects one of these functions depending on the driving situation and the operating state. As soon as the driver accelerates, the belt alternator starter restarts the 1.5 TFSI quickly and smoothly. When accelerating from low speeds, it supports the driver. The start-stop range begins as low as 13mph.
The seven-speed S tronic transmission is the conduit for the power in all versions. The 35 TFSI is also available with a six-speed manual transmission, while the 35 TDI is offered either in front-wheel-drive form with S tronic or with quattro all-wheel- drive and manual transmission. The quattro system is a standard feature of 40 TDI quattro and 45 TFSI quattro versions.
The central quattro component is an electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch on the rear axle, and it can begin sending a proportion of the torque from the front axle to the rear axle right from the point of turn-in to a bend. At the limits of performance, the quattro system works closely together with the wheel-selective torque control, which promotes stability by making gentle brake interventions on the inside wheels where quattro drive is installed and the inside front wheel in front-wheel-driven versions, helping to divert drive torque to the outside of the bend.
Outstanding in any situation: the assist systems
In the Audi Q3 Sportback, four systems are included as standard to further assist the driver. Audi pre sense basic initiates preventative safety measures for occupants as soon as it recognises an unstable driving state, using information from various vehicle systems to determine this. For instance, it intervenes if the electronic stabilisation control (ESC) sensors detect skidding or hard braking. The system then tightens the front seat belts electrically, closes the windows and activates the hazard warning lights in order to alert traffic behind the vehicle. Audi pre sense front detects collision risks in front of the car by means of front radar and also registers pedestrians and cyclists in addition to vehicles. In a critical situation, the system warns the driver optically, acoustically and haptically. In an emergency, it initiates full braking and implements the Audi pre sense basic measures.
Lane departure warning helps the driver to avoid inadvertently leaving their chosen lane. If the indicator has not been switched on and the car is about to cross a lane marking detected by the front camera, the system assists with corrective steering intervention. Finally, Audi Side Assist uses two radar sensors that take measurements to the rear, and activate a warning LED in the relevant exterior mirror if they detect a vehicle located in the blind spot or approaching quickly from the rear.
In Vorsprung versions a 360-degree camera also shows the area immediately around the SUV coupé on the MMI display, assisting the driver with manoeuvring, and for an even more ‘hands-off’ approach, the Park Assist function for automatic steering into and out of parking spaces is included as well, leaving the driver with only braking and gear selection to take care of.
The adaptive cruise assist is a highlight of the optional systems. It incorporates the functions of adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist and active lane assist, including control to the middle of the lane. In this way, it assists the driver with longitudinal and lateral control—substantially enhancing comfort on long journeys in particular.
The list of ultra-modern driver aids also includes cross traffic assist rear for easier reversal out of a perpendicular parking space or an entrance, plus a driver assistance pack bundling together adaptive cruise assist, camera-based traffic sign recognition, the parking system plus, high-beam assist and emergency assist. This pack is included as part of the Vorsprung specification and available optionally in combination with others.