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16 Jun 2022

Facelift (What's New)
Updated engine now produces 188bhp, while being more efficient and cleaner as well
Navigation now integrates Google Earth
No S-Line trim level offered (but sportier optional equipment are available)

The updated Audi Q3 Sportback may not seem like much, but underneath some subtle updates is a car that's surprisingly interesting and smile-inducing.


I'll be honest - on paper, the Audi Q3 Sportback just isn't a particularly interesting car to me. After all, it is essentially Audi taking its standard Q3 compact crossover, chopping off some interior headroom, adding some sporty exterior bits, and selling it at a higher price.

That's not to say it's a bad car. It's a good car. When I drove the original one launched a two years ago, I found it to be an entirely functional, modern and practical SUV that packed a little extra style. Just, perhaps not very interesting.

And yet somehow, with this updated model, I find myself kind of interested.

What?

The Q3's compact size means that this Sportback variant actually looks stylish and coherent
It might be something to do with the way it looks. It's probably the only Audi Q model where the raked Sportback styling actually really works. The car is small and compact enough that the raked roof doesn't seem visually awkward or weird. It's also sheathed in an excellent paintwork - Dew Silver Metallic.

It might be something to do with the slightly dated interior. The interior does look unchanged from before, but the car has had some subtle upgrades. The navigation system now integrates Google Earth, so you get a satellite map display. You also now get interior ambient lighting.

The integrated Google Earth means that you get a satellite-view map
However, what I find myself liking is the more analogue nature of the cabin. I particularly like that Audi still uses the un-updated VAG steering wheel, with its physical controls that are much more intuitive and easy to use compared to the capacitive touch controls on newer VAG models like the Mk 8 Golf.

So it's just a software update?

It might also have something to do with the way it drives. Audi has actually updated this engine, though it is still a 2.0-litre TFSI engine on paper. Some changes to it mean that it now puts out more power, to the tune of 188bhp and 320Nm of torque (11bhp more but with the same torque output). So, it's 0.5 seconds quicker to 100km/h.

The updated 2.0-litre engine is more powerful, yet cleaner and more efficient as well
Also, the engine now comes with an otto particle filter, and it's more efficient than before. Comparing spec sheets, the updated model is roughly 17% more efficient (14.9km/L vs 12.7km/L). And, it's also cleaner, so it now falls into VES band B instead of C1.

Notably, this isn't the S-Line variant like the one I drove before. The main omission is the adaptive sports suspension (which you still can get as an option). And, somehow, I like it better this way. The car is reasonably quick, and agile enough for a compact crossover. However, what I like is that because the suspension is softer and has more give, the car will lean and wallow a little when you go quickly through corners.

When going quickly through corners, there's a playfulness to the Q3 Sportback that is smile-inducing
I like that. It makes no pretence to be sporty, and I like the somewhat un-seriousness of it all. Here, I'm not looking for a sharp driving experience, and as a result what comes out of it is actually quite fun and humorous.

And of course, it still works well for day-to-day driving. It is comfortable, spacious enough, a breeze to pilot, and functional all things considered. Pretty much as before.

I'm not sure I get it...

Honestly, it might just be the fact that in a sea of compact SUVs these days, it's hard to find one with some personality. The updated Q3 Sportback is not perfect. In standard spec, it doesn't feel as modern or well-equipped as its peers. You don't get memory seats, and you don't even get a wireless charging pad.

The updated Q3 Sportback blends stylish sensibility and a cheeky looseness in a way that's surprisingly interesting
Yet, somehow, I still find myself interested. It's a car that, in this form, isn't overly serious. It's not masquerading as a sporty SUV, because it really isn't. It's not masquerading as a deeply practical SUV, because it really isn't.

It's just a small stylish crossover with a biggish engine, use it how you will. Drive it sensibly and it's a friendly, stylish and usable family car. Drive it with some gusto, and I guarantee you that it will illicit some laughs and a smile you didn't think was coming.


If you want a stylish premium compact crossover, here are some alternatives to consider: 

The BMW X2 is a compact crossover with striking looks and excellent driving dynamics

The Lexus UX is stylish, luxurious and delightfully comfortable

The Mercedes-Benz GLA offers bigger looks and a refreshing interior
Car Information
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Promotion
There's a promotion for Audi Q3 Sportback

Price

: $249,419

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1984cc

Horsepower

:

140kW (188 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

320 Nm / 4100 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) S tronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.3sec

Top Speed

:

220km/h

Fuel consumption

:

14.9km/L

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Tags :  

audi  q3  q3 sportback  sportback  audi sportback  q3 facelift  suv  crossover