SUVs

Audi Q3 Sportback SUV gets a slick-backed coif, loads of tech

This slightly more athletic take on Audi's popular Q3 crossover looks surprisingly cohesive.

The new Q3 Sportback offers a slightly racier take on Audi's compact crossover SUV.

Audi

As SUVs continue to become a bigger part of automakers' profits, car companies are slicing up that pie into smaller and smaller pieces in an effort to woo buyers. The latest example of this phenomenon is the Audi Q3 Sportback, an-ever-so-slightly more rakish version of the company's Q3 crossover

The new Audi Q3 Sportback adopts a swept-back rear window and a modestly lower roofline (1.1 inches) to project a sportier and more coupe-like aesthetic. This isn't just about a new haircut for the compact crossover, however. It also involves additional sheet metal creases along the body sides and slightly more aggressive front and rear fascias. It's not immediately clear how big of a toll these changes take on headroom, but they definitely add athleticism to the Q3's appearances, as well as visual length, even if the the Q3 Sportback is only slightly longer (0.6 inch) than garden-variety Q3 models. 

Despite that modest added length, total storage space in the Q3 Sportback is less than the standard Q3: 18.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up is identical, but with the seats folded, there's 49.4 cubic feet -- a shortfall of 5 cubes compared to the Sportback's more upright relative.

According to an official Audi release, the new Q3 Sportback will be offered with a range of four-cylinder engines, including a range-topping 2.0-liter turbo delivering 226 horsepower. A 1.5-liter option will come soon, mated to a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup to yield 147 horsepower. A pair of diesels making up to 187 hp will also be offered, and all powerplant choices are available backed by a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. 

A manual transmission will be available on front-wheel-drive models on the aforementioned 1.5-liter gas and 2.0-liter diesel engines, and a stick-shift setup with Quattro will also become available "shortly after market launch."

Like most new Audi SUVs, the Q3 Sportback includes features like all-LED exterior lighting (in three versions) as well as adaptive dampers and a six-setting Audi Drive Select controller with dedicated off-road mode. Interesting, all models will receive fully digital gauge clusters, with lower-end models getting a 10.25-inch display. Audi's 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit is available on systems equipped with MMI navigation. Other tech on offer in the Q3 Sportback includes LTE telematics, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications and Amazon Alexa integration. 

The Q3 Sportback will be available with Audi's reconfigurable Virtual Cockpit display.

Audi

The Audi Q3 Sportback arrives in European showrooms this autumn. Like its standard Q3 brethren, the new Sportback will look to take on the BMW X2 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class among other rivals. Audi cites German pricing from €40,200 -- around $45,000 USD -- for the 35 TDI S tronic model, which suggests a slight price premium over Audi's equivalent Q3 models.

If you're wondering when the US will see this sleek little crossover on its roads, well, we've got bad news. The Q3 Sportback is not destined for our roads. According to an Audi spokesperson reached by Roadshow, "While the [standard] Q3 is on sale in the US this month, the Q3 Sportback will not be coming to the US."

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