The price of good looks - Audi’s sassy Q3 Sportback

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So, why would you buy an Audi Q3 Sportback over the standard Q3, which is cheaper? Well, for one – it is way cooler looking, thanks to its Sportback. Its sleek raked rear gives the Q3 Sportback a sportier coupe look over its more conventional Q3 sibling. Think of it as wearing your cap backwards – only nothing douche’ about this aesthetic.

The Q3 Sportback is the niche, better-looking sibling to the accomplished Q3. This type of “coupe-looking” vehicle is attractive to those who enjoy the finer looking things in life and are prepared to pay for them. Bargain hunters, this one is not for you!

Let me put this into perspective – there are two engine options available in South Africa.  They are the 35TFSI (1.4-L) and the 40TFSI (2.0-L), both are available in the Q3 and the Q3 Sportback models. The price premium for the 35TFSI Sportback model is around R64 000 and R46 000 for the 40TFSI. Know that both the Q3 and Q3 Sportback are mechanically identical, so you are investing in the look and exclusivity of the vehicle.

Having driven the Q3 35TFSI, and now the Q3 Sportback 40TFSI, I am of the opinion that this type of sportier coupe vehicle is better suited to the larger engine; although the 40TFSI is more expensive, the price variation is lower than the 35TFSI.  Both engines are mated to slick shifting double-clutch automatic gearboxes – a 6-spreed and 7-speed for the later.

It is important to note that the 40TFSI is a four-wheel drive quattro, while the 35TFSI is front wheel driven. Both cars offer ample to brisk performance with the 40TSFI suppering from higher fuel consumption disadvantage – I got a 12-l per 100km around town which is on the high side. You can expect figures on 9-l or lower on the 35TFSI.

Both Q3 models I test drove were fitted with S Line sports suspension that in principle sounds sexy and sports orientated, but in reality, on our rough roads, takes away from the car’s ride quality. Avoid this option.

The interior is beautifully put together with artistic architectural designs cues that follow onto the dashboard and centre island. Materials are what you would expect and pleasing to the eye. Cheaper scratchy plastics have been used on lower panels in what I assume is an attempt to cut costs, but do not detract from the overall aesthetic of the modern cabin.

The car I drove was loaded with fabulous technology that allows for seamless smartphone integration. The option list allowed for wireless charging, cordless mirroring to my smartphone (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). Unfortunately, these options are expensive, like R62 000 expensive.

The Q3, like the Q3 Sportback, is a good all-round compact premium SUV. In fact, it is hard to pick a clear winner for its competition. The BMW X2 is sportier to drive, the Jaguar E-Pace is old and too expensive, the Lexus UX offers a refined niche option and the Volvo XC40 is outstanding however more of a competitor to the standard Q3 like the Mercedes-Benz GLA. So, the question remains: it is worth paying for the sassy styling?

I will leave that up to you!

The competition

BMW X2, Jaguar E-Pace, Lexus UX, Volvo XC40 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

 

The pricing

Q3 Sportback 35TFSI R693 000

Q3 Sportback 40TFSI quattro R737 000

 

The service and warranty

5 years and 100 000 km maintenance plan is included with the purchase of a new Q3.

Rating

8/10

www.audi.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

 

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