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Audi Q3 Sportback PHEV

Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert.



There’s no mistaking the Q3 visually as an Audi SUV and now thankfully it looks much better than it’s predecessor. For some reason the Q3 of old looked a little like a shrunk Q5 and it struggled to have its own identity. Mind you that didn’t stop them selling, and the Q3 has always been a strong performer for Audi here in Ireland. Now the company has decided to move the new generation Q3 inline with their electrification program by introducing two plug-in hybrid variants. The Q3 45 TFSI e and the Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e will mark the first step into the world of electrified Q models for many. With the ability to cover a distance of 51 km for the Q3 45 TFSI e and 50 km for the Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e this is a chance for many new Audi customers to experience what it might be like to live with an EV before making the final commitment to loose combustion power. Our test vehicle was the Sportback S-Line variant and it looks fantastic! Depending on the trim level chosen between SE or S-Line there are various wheels sizes to choose from but if you can stretch to the bigger 19 or 20-inch wheel, I think you will agree it suits the car better.



Features


As expected inside, the Q3 has the perfect mix of style and function! The now familiar MMI touch with a 10.1-inch screen takes up a central position in the instrument panel and displays a plethora of information including energy flows of the hybrid drive system in real time. Together with the air conditioning controls underneath, it is tilted ten degrees toward the driver, with all displays, buttons and controls designed to be within easy view and reach. There seams to be so much more space also even if our test car was the slope backed Sportback! Compared to the model of old the Q3 has grown in size all over. It’s now 4.485 metres long, 1.856 metres wide and 1.585 metres high. Its wheelbase has been stretched by 77 millimetres, offering buyers more knee room, headroom and elbow room. Even the boot has increased 70 litres over the old Q3 to 530. The feel of the materials used is premium as expected and the sports seats in S-Line offer incredible comfort and support. Buyers of the SE spec wont be disappointed either because the seats are arguably even more comfortable with softer bolsters.



Power


Powering the two Q3 models is the latest generation 1.4 TFSI four-cylinder engine delivering 150 HP. The high-voltage battery is located under the vehicle floor in front of the rear axle. It has 13.0 kWh of energy and features its own cooling circuit, which can be coupled to the air conditioning system’s circuit to ensure effective cooling even when the vehicle is under pressure. Together the powertrains make 245 HP with 400 Nm of torque. Both the Q3 45 TFSI e and the Sportback can do the 0 to 100-km/h sprint in 7.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 210 km/h. We never got to empty a full tank of juice in our week long test drive but Audi claim a range of approximately 710 km in normal everyday use. From a charging perspective the new Q3 hybrid can be charged using a regular three pin home charger in just 3 h 45 min. For faster charging buyers can make use of the e-tron Charging Service, with over 1000 locations in Ireland alone and many more across Europe. With a single card, the customer has access to more than 155,000 charging points! There is free phone app for easy management and station locations.



Safety


Like the Q2 we tested earlier this year the driver assist systems include, Audi pre sense basic, Audi pre sense front, Audi side assist, and lane departure warning as standard with the optional adaptive cruise assist which can give you semi autonomous driving. As cool as this feature is we still struggle to give the car control of the steering wheel on any sort of a journey. Yes you must still have your hands on the wheel but it’s still slightly disconcerting but perhaps that’s just me! As expected a multitude of airbags are also fitted to keep you and your little ones safe.



Costs


Costs vary across the Q3 range depending on spec. Entry into a new combustion powered Q3 kicks off at roughly €43,000. The plug-in hybrid variants start at €48,000 but, be careful with the spec options! The Sportback adds about €1000 to the price and our S-Line test car dripping in spec was a whopping €62,000. Audi naturally have a suite of PCP and finance options available through their trusted dealer network.



Summary


The new Audi Q3 is a vast improvement over the outgoing model. It looks so much better on the road and drives exceptionally well. In a way it has grown up not just in style, drive, usability but appeal and asking people of various ages what they thought about it was interesting. Some couldn’t justify the price, others felt there was no need for it to be hybrid, but all loved the styling both inside and out. On a personal level it would be a difficult decision for me if I had to choose. I think at the prices mentioned above for a combustion powered version makes more sense because when you get up towards the €60k mark, you could also get into the fully electric Q4 etron with a 500km range and be totally future proof! It all depends on your needs really but Audi continue to dish out some delightful cars and we are happy to give you our bit of feedback. Your task now should you choose to accept it is to go take a test drive and tell us what you think?


For

Looks fantastic

Interior comfort


Against

Gets a little pricey!


To see our YouTube video review of this Audi, please click here.


To check out Audi Q3 stock on DoneDeal, click here.


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