The Audi Q3 Sportback wants to sit with the popular coupe-shaped SUVs07/24/2019
If you’ve always wanted to see the Audi Q3 with a more rakish roof, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Audi has debuted exactly that this week. Yes, kind of like a “cool” youth pastor who wears his baseball cap backward. The bad news is that a U.S. version is not pending at the moment — a rare moment of restraint when it comes to German SUVs with slanted roofs.
This isn’t just a Q3 with a longer rear window and decreased headroom — the changes are a little more extensive and concern just about every dimension. The Q3 Sportback is 1.1 inches lower than the standard Q3 and it’s also 0.6 inch longer, even though Audi has kept the wheelbase the same. Audi designers have also lowered the shoulder line of the standard model to permit a more rakish roof and has given the wheel arches more pronounced contours to suggest a sportier character. Ingolstadt has also tweaked the design of the doors to suggest a more muscular appearance and has redesigned the rear fascia with the same goal in mind.
Perhaps the biggest visual cue that one is looking at the Sportback model, aside from the backlight, is the slimmer D-pillar. Audi has traded the substantial and somewhat rectangular shape for something far lighter, visually, in creating a coupe version of this pocket SUV, while also allowing for a small kink in the otherwise flat sill line. A longer rear spoiler gives the shape of the greenhouse some balance, making the Sportback appear less like a high-riding sedan than it otherwise could.
It looks like headroom will suffer a bit in this version.
When it comes to the interior, the Q3 Sportback will be a close twin of its standard version when it comes to equipment, but rear seat passengers will, predictably, have a bit less headroom — the price to pay for being fashionable.
The Q3 Sportback’s range of engines will mirror its more upright sibling — no big surprise there — but later in 2020, after its official launch, the Sportback will gain a 1.5-liter TFSI engine paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid drivetrain (MHEV). If the engine lineup stays the same for a (purely hypothetical) U.S. launch, we would see it with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, good for 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The standard-bodied 2019 Q3 made its debut at the New York auto show this year, offering a modest boost in power over the outgoing model while keeping Quattro all-wheel drive.
While Audi has indicated that the U.S. will not receive this model, this might be one of just a few recent examples of a luxury automaker declining to put a player into this very lucrative game — it wasn’t that long ago that Audi parent company Volkswagen was dangerously short on SUVs and crossovers.
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