Audi Q3 Sportback Review: Stylish, but Lacking Dynamics

Audi Q3 40 TFSI Sportback
Audi’s Q3 Sportback is a Fastback Sports Utility that Celebrates its Style Better than its Dynamic Heritage

This turtle on stilts thing is getting out of hand. Seems every man and his dog sells all sorts of sleek ‘coupé-SUVs’ these days. This Audi Q3 Sportback 40 TFSI S Line is another recent arrival worthy of a look-see. So here we go.

First and foremost, a coupé and an SUV all in one? No, they just don’t go! Sure, it’s sleek and sexy. But a coupé has two doors. Not five. Here’s another genre looking for a name — I prefer fastback SUV. So Sportback is actually a pretty dope name for it after all.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand — the Audi Q3 Sportback 40TFSI quattro S line. This is a European spec car – there’s no gas-burning Q3 Sportback in the US, just the e-tron. The all-electric one. Which may be a bit of an acquired taste. The closest US model is the next step up 228 hp 258 lb-ft Q5 45 TFSI S Line wagon.

Said to shake off the booming SUV stereotype in many more ways than one, this is a sleek new version of the good old Q3 wagon we’ve come to know over time. Our baby blue fastback SUV here certainly brings a wedge of style to old faithful. We say its way better looking than its wagon sibling. Never mind one of the cooler looking of all SUVs out there right now. Agree?

Everything from that honeycomb grille to its aggressive bumpers, shiny 19-inch alloys, chunky side skirts, and even chunkier haunches, looks the part. Hell, Audi’s come a long way from its bold move to the Mickey Mouse schnoz way back when! Practically, it’s on the large side for a small SUV. It’s still about an inch lower, two-thirds of an inch longer and half a hair narrower than its wagon kin. All thanks to its coupé aspirations.

Q3 Sportback

It’s Properly Audi Cool Inside

Step aboard and it’s just as Audi-cool. It’s also basically, identical to the wagon inside. That’s all good, because the Q3 sets the segment standard anyway. With Audi’s splendid 10.1-inch voice-controlled haptic touchscreen MMI multimedia center stage on the soft-touch plastic dash’s metallic fascia. And that brilliant multi-faced 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster nestled behind the chunky and racy flat-bottomed paddle-shifter multifunction steering wheel.

The Infotainment packs Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth; real-time traffic satellite navigation, and 180W 10-speaker digital radio sound. We really enjoyed the haptic touch which eases our loathing of touch screen system systems. But it but does not eliminate it. Like the touchscreen, the gloss-black air-vent surrounds are easily also fingerprinted and scratched too.

Audi has however happily resisted the temptation to integrate the dual-zone climate controls into this one’s multimedia system in favor of user-friendly knobs. The Sportback gets leather upholstered heated lumbar power sports seats and unique Steel Grey Alcantara dashboard and armrest inserts. There are SD and SIM card readers in the glove box, USB-A and C ports at the center console, two USB-C ports in the rear, and two 12-volt outlets too.

Audi Q3 Sportback

Option-Packed Luxury

This car packed in keyless entry and start, adaptive dusk-sensing LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, power, heated auto-dimming folding wing mirrors, a hands-free power tailgate, a space-saver spare wheel, and rear privacy glass too.

Safety is also high on the Q3 Sportback agenda. An impressive array of advanced driver-assist systems extends to autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep and steering assist, and blind-spot monitoring. Add rear cross-traffic alert, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control, tire pressure monitoring, hill-descent, and hill-start assist, driver attention and high-beam assistants, surround-view cameras, and front and rear parking sensors.

There are six front, side, and curtain airbags, electronic stability and traction controls, ABS anti-skid brakes with brake assist, and electronic brake-force distribution, among others.