After Audi created the Q8 to stand in as a Q7 Sportback, the Ingolstadt carmaker worked the same alchemy at the other end of the crossover range with the Q3 Sportback. Modelers' hands have massaged the Q3's traditional, conservative form into the sloped roof and raked tailgate expected of a crossover coupe. The changes add a little more than half an inch to the length, lower the roof height by a little more than an inch, and make the Q3 Sportback a quarter-inch narrower than the standard version. According to the specs we've been given, cargo volume loses five cubic feet with the rear seats up, but unexpectedly gains 1.4 cubic feet with the rear bench down.
A few subtler exterior design tweaks separate the siblings. Much of the shiny trim on the Q3, such as around the singleframe grille and highlighting the front intakes, has been traded for gloss black. The shoulder line descends a touch, sliding through the door handles on the Q3 Sportback instead of connecting the fender-arch lines. Punchier rear haunches wrap around into a slightly different tailgate, and the blacked-out lower bumper emphasizes the much more aggressive diffuser. Eighteen-inch wheels will come standard, with 19- and 20-inch options from Audi Sport also available. The interior is the same as the regular Q3, save for the shape-shifted rear area. At launch in Europe, two Edition One models in either Dew Silver or Mythos Black will tweak the exterior styling with "dark decorative panels," and add new materials and trim pieces in the cabin.
Two engines constitute the lineup to start. The Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI Quattro S tronic uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 226 horsepower. The Q3 Sportback 35 TDI S tronic fits a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder with 147 hp without Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive, that same engine rebranded as the 40 TDI S tronic when optioned with Quattro, getting 187 hp. Down the pike, buyers will get to choose a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas motor with 147 hp, aided by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system for better fuel economy. All available engines get hooked to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission.
Audi hasn't declared we'll get the model yet, but with German competitors like the BMW X2 and Mercedes GLA and GLB either here or on the way, we expect the Q3 Sportback to join the party.