By Seán Creedon
“Good to see Audi are being a bit bold with their colours.” That was the reaction of a car salesman when I dropped into his garage forecourt last week. He was commenting on the pulse orange-coloured Audi Q3 Sportback that I was driving.
I have seen orange and amber colours used in various press cars over the years and they are colours that certainly help make a car stand out from the crowd.
Audi introduced their Q3 last year and it was named Medium SUV of the Year at the Continental Car of the Year awards. Now Audi has launched a Sportback version of the Q3 and it certainly is chunky and impressive looking.
The Audi Q3 was one of the first posh small SUVs, designed to offer the premium appeal of the larger Q5 and Q7 in a smaller package. But SUV’s rule the world right now and it was only natural that Audi would bring out a Sportback version.
I am told that one of the reasons car companies bring out sportback versions is to stop buyers from straying from their brand by offering something that bridges a gap between models. In this case moving up to the Audi Q5 would be much more expensive.
Audi will also be hoping to tempt buyers away from owners of their German rivals BMW and Mercedes, but often I wonder if motorists are loyal to just one brand?
The Sportback has a sloping tailgate and big bulging wheel arches and body creases. It is slightly narrower than the Q3 and has a more sloping windscreen also.
The rear windows in the Sportback are smaller than the regular Q3 and there is a new boot lid and a unique rear bumper with large mock diffuser. It’s 29mm low than the Q3 and 16mm longer, which means a slightly longer boot.
Space is provided for a spare wheel, but none provided, so once again the advice is to haggle for a spare if buying new.
I loved the elevated seating position which makes these crossovers so desirable. The Sportback interior is beautifully designed to distinguish it from rivals, with superb quality throughout.
There are two trim levels available, SE and S Line, with the latter getting a sportier makeover. The single frame grille has a sporty honeycomb-effect design, while trapezoidal air inlets also add presence.
LED light technology is standard across the range. SE models have 18-inch alloys, while S Line models get 19- inch alloys, rear privacy glass, and exclusive design for the bumpers, sill trims and diffuser.
The boot has a 530-litre capacity and the rear door can be opened with the key fob; a roof edge spoiler completes the SUV look.
Prices for the Sportback start at €46,450. My automatic test car had a plethora of goodies and they brought the price of the car as tested to €54,849. Road tax is €280.
Buyers can choose from petrol and diesel engines, including the 1.5-litre TFSI petrol with 150 hp (35 TFSI), which I drove, the 2.0-litre 45 TFS petrol with 230 hp, and the 2.0-litre 35 TDI diesel with 150 hp.
Audi produce some classy-looking motors and this Q3 Sportback certainly adds another layer of class to the already impressive range of cars with the famous ‘four rings’ logo.