We liked the new Audi Q3. Its stylish, well designed, beautifully put together and boasts the very latest in automotive high tech.
The model I am road testing this week is the new Q3 hybrid Sportback claiming to offer up to 50km of electro motoring on a full charge.
Now I need to set out my stall here.
These hybrids are only any good if you are disciplined enough to plug in every where you can to get the max 50km or so of EV motoring.
Sadly evidence shows people are buying these PHEV cars for the cheaper road tax, benefiting from the government grant and then not bothering to plug in as often as they should.
In this case PHEV’s are a disaster actually emitting more C02 and burning more fuel than its equivalent sibling due the huge extra weight of the battery and motor.
So the message is clear only buy a PHEV if you will plug in at every opportunity which will be a lot as the range is so short.
So has it any street cred?
The style is bold and muscular with that coupe-like sloping rear roofline giving the Q3 a strong presence on the road.
In addition some strong new colours which means you won’t go unnoticed if thats your thing!
I liked it. Its distinctive and boasts a real air of class about it.
What’s it like inside?
The new Q3 Sportback overall feels high quality boasting in this car Audi’s optional digital cockpit as standard, a large 25cm central touchscreen and thankfully some buttons to operate functions as well.
The interior of the S-Line model is upholstered in artificial leather (read vinyl) and cloth and in this car an optional sporty looking flat-bottomed steering wheel.
I like the overall design and particularly the fact that the touchscreen is neatly integrated into the dashboard design.
There are though some bland looking plastics on the door panels.
There is enough standard equipment to please and a wealth of options to choose from should you wish.
But beware, gleefully ticking the options list will quickly bump up the base price. Options on my test car came to over €7,699.
The cabin is roomy up front but the rear is cramped and that sloping roofline further reduces headroom. The 530 litre boot is quite good with a large tailgate for easy access.
What is under the bonnet?
My test car was powered by Audi’s 1.4 litre TFSI 4 cylinder petrol turbo combined with an electric motor and battery producing some 245bhp and mated to the S-Tronic auto gearbox.
That combination works well but I never managed 50km achieving an average of 40km on a full charge.
Over my test it burned on average 6.8 litres per 100km and it will cost you €140.00 to tax for a year.
What is it like to drive?
The S-Line version tested has the slightly firmer sports suspension and it rides the road very well soaking up undulations and imperfections with ease.
The handling is surefooted and offers plenty of grip whether on wet or dry roads.
Noise levels are generally well suppressed. On twisty country roads it doesn’t roll too much and on motorways it cruises quietly, but despite its sporty overtones it’s not a sporty SUV to drive.
So what is the Verdict?
Overall I liked the new Audi Q3. Its stylish, well designed, beautifully put together and boasts the very latest in automotive high tech.
Frankly though I don’t think I would pay the premium for the hybrid and the Sportback is not as practical as the regular Q3 due its shape.
So horses for courses I guess. The Audi Q3 Sportback hybrid costs from €53,910 but with options my test car came in at €62,507.
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