The Audi Q3 has been with us since 2012, offering the much-loved mid size SUV to New Zealand families. During this time we have seen two generations, the second one hitting our shores in 2019. With the expanding demand for sportback SUVs, Audi have now launched the Audi Q3 Sportback as what they call a “Self-confident, extroverted, and sporty” version of the Audi Q3. 

What is this new cheeky family member all about? We take the new Audi Q3 Sportback for a week long review to find out.

The Range

The range is pretty simple, Audi are only selling one variant in New Zealand: the Audi 45 TFSI Sportback S Line. Starting at $87,900 the Sportback come with a 2.0-litre turbo 4-cylinder engine that produces 169kW of power and 350Nm of torque. It comes with a 7-speed S tronic gearbox. 

The Sportback comes in 9 different colours: 5 metallic, 1 pearl effect and 3 solid paint finishes. The range is typical of Audi, black, a couple of silvers, white and 3 exciting colours. A solid blue and orange and a red metallic called Tango which was the colour of our review car. It was a really great colour, works really well with the sportback design, and is a real head turner.

It comes standard with the S line interior package, which includes: Sports seats, in front

headliner in black fabric, pedals and foot rest in stainless steel and decorative insert in Matte Brushed Dark Aluminum.

There is a surprising range of wheels available; five different 19-inch options and three 20-inch ones. Two of the 19-inch alloy wheels are no extra cost, one is a $500 option and the other two are a $2,500 option. The 20-inch alloy wheels are all a $3,800 option. Our review car was optioned with the 20-inch Audi Sport cast alloy wheels.

The Audi Q3 Sportback is equipped with a good list of standard options, which include: tyre pressure monitoring system, 360-degree camera, lane departure warning and lane change assistant, extended proactive pedestrian and cyclist protection, speed limiter, Audi pre sense front for adaptive cruise control, ambient lighting inside cabin, daytime running lights, LED headlights, high beam assist, Audi Smartphone interface, Satellite  Navigation, Audi Virtual Cockpit, MMi Navigation plus, ESC and a comfort key with sensor control luggage compartment release. 

There are several other options available that are worth noting: panoramic glass sunroof, black appearance package, dark tinted glass, Audi park assist and Matrix LED headlights as xtested on the RS6.

For a full range of the specs and options available for the Q3 Sportback, check out Audi New Zealand’s website – WEBSITE LINK

First Impressions

That’s a cool colour, really good when the sun hits it. Immediately I felt an active sporty nature about this vehicle, all while being edgy and modern. In summary of all the fancy words, it’s a good looking car, especially in red.

At first I didn’t even click to think it was the Sportback. Yes it’s got a sloped back, but it’s not as exaggerated as many of the other sportbacks on the market. This is good, because it means the rear seats and the boot won’t be affected as much. 

The wheels were just right too – the Audi Sport cast alloy wheels, 5-double- spoke style with Matte Structure Gray inserts. It was different, and I liked it.

Even though there were plenty of other Audis around the lot, in a sea of black, silver and white, I was looking forward to driving this cheeky red one, as it stood out from the crowd shouting “Hey you, let’s do this thing.”

The Inside

A few weeks ago I spent some time in the 2020 Audi RS6, which was a really big dollar vehicle. I am surprised to say that after jumping into the new Q3 Sportback, the inside does not feel that far removed, not as much as the price difference, that’s for sure. This is great, as some of the older generation Audi’s suffered from a billy basic feeling if you didn’t have the top of the range variant or a high enough model number. Times have changed and for the better, as the inside of this Sportback feels just as nice as the car that’s more than twice its price.

The new Audi dash layout is really nice and simplistic. There are really just two locations for buttons; under the touch screen in the middle and to the right of the steering wheel. Everything else is either controlled from the steering wheel or the MMI infotainment screen. They have avoided the layers of menus, by keeping it simple and customisable. In the radio is a quick flick of the finder up or down to find your favourite station. Under telephone, you can connect up your smartphone in seconds, with much of a fuss. The only real downside to the touchscreen is fingerprints, something no one has yet found a solution to.

The front seats are really good, a nice mixture of fabric and leather provided good support. The rear seats are just as supportive as the front ones. I did find the leg space a bit tight, so anyone over 182cm might find it hard to get comfy if the driver and front passenger are tall too. Our baby seat worked well, and my daughter was able to see out the window. Those in the know, will know this makes a huge difference to keeping them occupied, some cars have very high rear doors. I did find myself pushing the passenger seat forwards every time she was in the car, as she is at that seat kicking stage. A nice protective kick cover would sort this out, she still had plenty of legroom.

At first I found the phone reminder feature a bit intrusive. This is a loud voice that tells you when you open the door that your phone is still in the car on the wireless charging pad. This is definitely part of its self-confident characteristic, however I must admit it worked every time. With so many keyless touch options, it’s easy to forget that your phone is not in your pocket or handbag (I assume, my handbag was at home) and you just jump out of the car. Other brands have tried a range of notifications, but this one works the best.  

The boot is a really good space, 530 litres and it has two sunken compartments either side to stop smaller items from rolling around the boot. As it’s a hatch, the access is also really good, super easy to lean into the back and reach anything you put there. I also liked the spare wheel compartment lid, which has two clips that hold it open when access is required. Simple but not many brands do it. 

The Drive

Behind the wheel of the Sportback is a tale of two stories. One side is the happy-go-lucky family car that keeps life simple and your family safe. The other side is that fun side, the cheeky grin that lets you know your kids have done something they shouldn’t have.

The family side of the car is just what you would expect, a car ready for everything a modern family looks for. Once in Comfort mode the car is quiet to drive, with a low level of road noise. 

There is always enough power from the engine, allowing effortless entry in and out of tricky junctions.

The driver’s display highlights a lot of information, which is also customisable. You can have a range of different info shown in the centre of the display, like long and short term vehicle memory or have the nav map displayed. I found the nav was handy as it made it easier to view than the central display, just a quick look down as you would when using the typical drivers display.

One thing I did find a bit odd, was the delay in the engine stop start feature. With so many cars doing this, it’s noticeable when one takes a bit longer to restart. I got used to this, but over the first few days I did find myself turning this off. Overall the car feels light and nimble on its feet, easy to get around the city in and very relaxing to park. Visibility is good all round, minimising any typical blind spots. 

The Q3 has a range of driver modes, too many in fact. Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Offroad, and individual. I don’t see many people using this offroad, not to say it can’t cut it, but this is not really that type of car. I felt that the Q3 needed Comfort and Dynamic. The main reason for this is that it was not super easy to switch into dynamic mode. You have to press the drive model and cycle though the list, which means looking at the central display. Maybe over time you would get used to how many times you needed to press it. Regardless it felt like too many options. I spent most of my time in Comfort and Dynamic. 

Dynamic mode was that cheeky mode, it didn’t turn that Q3 into a fire breathing RS monster, but it did give it a pep in its step. Once into dynamic things get sharper and quicker. Faster gear changes, throttle response and shaper steering. All so you can have a bit of fun when the opportunity arises. The misunderstood point about cars like this is that you can pop them into sport mode and fire onto the motorway onramp, foot to the floor and just let work through the gears. Each change and high rev note gives you a bit of a sporty feel, all while you’re still under the speed limit. You don’t always need fast cars to have fun. Take the recently reviewed RS6, if you’re just on the motorway and floor it, two or three seconds later you’re right on the brakes, as you have hit the speed limit. Not with the Q3, you get a bit more time to enjoy its range.

Overall the car feels light and nimble on its feet, easy to get around the city in and very relaxing to park. Visibility is good all round

The Competition

Fastback, sportback or coupe SUVs are not a new thing. However they have been mainly focused on the larger and more expensive end of the market. We are now seeing what could be the start of many more coupe-style mid-size SUVs enter the market. 

Brand / ModelEnginePower kW/NmNumber of SeatsFuel L/100kmBoot Capacity LitresPrice Highest to Lowest
BMW X4 xDrive20d2.0-litre inline turbo diesel140/40058.0525$102.500
Mercedes-Benz GLC 2002.0-litre inline 4 Turbo145/32057.8550$88,600
Audi Q3 Sportback2.0-litre inline 4 Turbo169/35057.7530$87,900

PROS

  • Head turning style, modern design
  • Great for the family
  • Packed with toys
  • Smooth and comfy ride
  • Good build quality
  • Beautiful handling, quattro
  • High quality interior
  • Sportback, no effect on rear headroom. 
  • Good boot

CONS

  • Auto stop start lag
  • Rear legroom for tall people
  • Limited strong colour options 

2020 Audi Q3 45 TFSI Sportback S Line

Vehicle TypeSUV Sportback
Starting Price$87,900
Price as Tested$96,800
Engine2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol turbo
Power, Torque
kW/Nm
169/350
Transmission7-speed S-Tronic
Spare WheelSpace Saver
Kerb Weight, Kg1460
Length x Width x Height, mm4500 x 1843 x 1560
Cargo Capacity, litres530
Fuel tank capacity, litres60 
Fuel Economy, L/100kmAdvertised Spec – Combined – 7.4Real World Test – Combined – 8.8Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Towing CapacityKg, unbraked/braked750 /2100
Turning circle, metres12Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
 Warranty5 years warranty
ANCAP Safety Ratings5 Star

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Economy
7
Interior
9
Performance
7
Safety
9
Styling
9
Value
8
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It started at a young age with bedroom posters, the Countach of course. This slowly grew into a super car die-cast model collection, fifty five 1:18 models at the last count. At which point it had almost taken full control, the incurable Mad Car Disease ran deep though my veins all the way to the bone. And things for my loved ones just got worse as the cars where now being bought at 1:1 scale, after a BMW, HSV, and couple of Audi's, the disease reached my brain, pushing me over the edge and down the rabbits hole into the world of the bedroom poster.

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