This is despite the fact that their A5 and A7 Sportback pioneered the low roofline body style as a variation on saloons. So far, they’ve had an interesting start with the sleek Q8 at the top of their SUV portfolio, but have been lacking in the smaller to medium end of the size spectrum - and that’s exactly where the Q3 Sportback comes into play.
Immediately, the fact that Audi chose to include the ‘Sportback’ name here strikes as us as an interesting call, presumably leaving the door open to a Q2 Sportback or Q5 Sportback to be introduced further down the road.
This is in contrast to the aforementioned Q8 which sits on the same underpinnings as the more practical Q7 but omits much of its more utilitarian design for a lot more flair. Still, one could argue that the degree to which the Q3 and Q3 Sportback differ is near or equal to the separation between the Q7 and Q8.
Yet, the the latter pair has been granted the right to stand totally apart from each other within the Audi family. Why the company insisted on the Sportback remain tethered to the Q3 is probably information confined to within the Ingolstadt inner circle.
Meanwhile, there has been speculation surrounding the Q4 e-tron, a vehicle first seen as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show, being close to production readiness as it prepares to accompany the larger Audi ‘e-tron’ SUV on their electric frontline.
Over the more conservative Q3, the Sportback incorporates many new design tweaks that give it a sportier, more aggressive look overall. It’s altogether more sculpted and angular, but not enough to notice it being appreciably different in size.
Inside, the lower roofline will impact the sense of roominess for second row passengers. There are touches of Alcantara and satin finish metal surfaces, but is otherwise interiorly identical to the Q3. Boot volume has also taken a small hit but offers a very usable 530-litres with the seats upright.
At this initial announcements, Audi has confirmed two engine choices: a 35 TDI that uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel and the 45 TFSI with a 2.0-litre four-pot turbo-petrol. Respectively, outputs should hover around 110kW/340Nm and 169kW/350Nm if tunes are unchanged from the non-Sportback Q3. Both engines will be mated to the company’s 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission.
The automaker expects a production rollout for European markets to begin somewhere in Q4 2019 with other markets to follow in early 2020.