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By Jonathan Crouch
The Q3 Sportback widens Audi's reach in the premium compact SUV segment. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 66
Audi extends its Sportback franchise into the SUV sector with this compact stylised Q3 Sportback model. It's aimed most precisely at BMW's similarly-sized X2, but potential buyers will also be looking at upper-spec versions of premium small crossovers like the Range Rover Evoque, the Mercedes GLA and the Lexus UX. There's mild hybrid electrification, trendy media connectivity and a cool Audi cabin. Just as you'd want.
Backgroundword count: 96
Pay more, get less. Coupe models have always unblushingly offered this curious proposition and this one continues the tradition, Audi's Q3 Sportback. This, as you can see from the picture, is one of those 'coupe-style' compact SUV models, a sub-niche of the market already populated by BMW's X2. This fashion-led derivative has a roofline 49mm lower than that of its standard sibling and virtually all the bodywork panels are different, only the front wings being shared with the standard Q3. Plus mild hybrid petrol engine technology features at the foot of the range. Sounds quite promising.
Driving Experienceword count: 200
The range kicks off with a 150PS 35 TFSI 1.5-litre petrol engine using Audi's latest 12V mild hybrid technology and S tronic auto transmission. This unit is aided by cylinder-on-demand technology, which at low and medium loads deactivates the second and third cylinders to reduce consumption. Manual transmission is also available with this derivative, which only comes with front wheel drive. Further up the range, it's a 4WD-only line-up. There's a 45 TFSI quattro model that uses a 2.0 TFSI unit and offers 230PS. If you want a diesel, there's the usual 150PS 2.0 TDI engine in the 35 TDI quattro. Audi has tried to make this Sportback variant a little more dynamic to drive than the ordinary Q3. Sport settings for the front MacPherson strut and four-link rear set-up are standard across the range in the UK, and strike an impressive balance between absorbency and assured handling. For the 4WD models, an electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch on the rear axle can begin sending a proportion of the torque from the front to the rear axle right from the point of turn-in to a bend. Combined with torque vectoring, this makes this Audi an impressive rapid point-to-point compact SUV.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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