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Audi adds first compact SUV coupe

Slope-backed Q3 Sportback to fill a niche for Audi against German rivals

24 Jul 2019

AUDI has added another string to its bow in its fight against its German rivals by adding a coupe-style Sportback variant to its all-new Q3 small SUV range.


The Q3 Sportback will go head to head with the BMW X2 and Mercedes-Benz GLA Coupe when it debuts in Australia in the first half of 2020.


Here, it will join the new-generation conventional wagon-style Q3 that is now scheduled for local launch in the fourth quarter of this year – a year after its European debut.


When it arrives, the Q3 Sportback will fill a vital niche in the line-up as the brand’s first coupe-style compact crossover.


From the front, the Sportback is defined by a sportier all-black grille, setting it apart from the standard Q3 with its metallic fascia with vertical slats.


This black look is carried over into the side sills, rear bumper and external mirrors.


At the back, a small spoiler is fitted to the trailing edge of the roof, while various elements such as the reversing lights and black bumper have stretched horizontally to make the car look wider and sportier.


Like many SUVs of this ilk, the Sportback has a lower, more sloped roofline than the standard model, in this case down by 25mm (1560mm). This presumably leads to reduced headroom in the rear seat, but Audi has not yet supplied those figures in its launch press kit.


The Sportback gets the same sliding 40:20:40 split-fold rear seats as the wagon, and retains the Q3’s 530-litre boot capacity that grows to 1500L with the seats folded.


The cargo area floor can be set at two levels, while a hands-free tailgate opener is optional.


The Sportback is also marginally longer (+15mm, 4500mm) but narrower (-16, 1840mm) than its sibling.


Like the standard Q3, the Sportback is based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB compact vehicle platform that underpins a raft of models, including the Volkswagen Golf and Tiguan, among others.


In Europe, the Sportback will be launched this year with two 2.0-litre mainstream engines – a 169kW petrol four cylinder in the 45TFSI and a 110kW diesel in the 35TDI. Both will be hooked up to a seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission.


The petrol variant will get quattro all-wheel-drive from launch, but the diesel will be front-wheel drive only until the arrival of a manual gearbox version shortly after European launch.


Audi says buyers can expect two more powertrains – an entry level petrol with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance and a more powerful diesel shortly after launch.


The mild hybrid system is claimed to save up to 0.4 litres per 100km in real-world driving.


The powertrain line-up for Australia is still under wraps, and like the pricing and specification, will be announced closer to launch.


Sports suspension is standard on the Sportback, but buyers can opt for a dynamic version that includes electronically controlled dampers for a wider range of settings, from comfort to off-road.


Like all Audis of late, the Sportback gets a full digital instrument cluster with a 10.25-inch screen that can be changed by the driver using steering wheel controls.


A 10.1-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash controls the infotainment system, delivering acoustic feedback with each touch.


A 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus is optional, delivering three selectable layouts, including a dynamic view.


Customers can also opt for an advanced MMI sat-nav system that introduces a range of extra services including online traffic information and the online points of interest service via a SIM-card connection.


Amazon’s Alexa is also on hand to provide a variety of services via voice recognition.


Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

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