Audi RS Q3 Sportback review
The Audi RS Q3 Sportback is a fast SUV with a distinctive five-cylinder petrol engine and a lovely interior. The lower, lighter hatchback RS 3 will be even more fun to drive, mind you.
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The Audi RS Q3 Sportback is a fast and powerful SUV that sits somewhere between the normal RS Q3 and a Audi TT RS – it takes most of its ingredients from the former, yet a sloping roofline at the back means it’s sleeker, like a coupe.
If the standard Audi Q3 is a brogue and the RS Q3 a running shoe, the RS Q3 Sportback is a pair of sprinter’s spikes – the coolest looking, but the least practical.
Indeed, the RS Q3 Sportback is a sharp-looking car, especially if you prefer its lower roofline. The big alloy wheels, deep black grille and sporty trim pieces all make the RS Q3 stand out from the rest of the Q3 range.
The most interesting and important aspect of the car, though, is the 400hp 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet. It means the car goes from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds, helped also by four-wheel drive and a quick-shifting automatic gearbox. There’s no manual option in any car with this engine, sadly.
It sounds brilliant, too, especially with the optional sports exhaust. The five-cylinder engine’s distinctive engine note is addictive and never gets old, so for keen drivers it’s by far the best aspect of the car.
The RS Q3 Sportback also features special sports suspension, which is 10mm lower than a standard Q3, plus adaptive dampers that let you choose how soft or stiff you want it, depending on the driving mode you set it to. It doesn’t make a huge difference but this is good to have, as the RS Q3’s ride is on the stiff side.
A couple of things help the Audi RS Q3 Sportback stand out amongst performance SUVs – its sharp looks and that characterful five-cylinder engine. It just sounds better than the rest.
The RS Q3 Sportback is decent to drive, and will go through a set of corners without much drama as there’s plenty of grip. It errs on the side of caution and will wash wide at its front wheels eventually, though, so it’s not much of a driver’s car. There’s more body roll than in an RS3, too.
The interior of the RS Q3 Sportback is virtually identical to the normal RS Q3, which means you get leather sports seats, a leather steering wheel, RS badges on the sills and special settings for the digital dials. These include a lap timer and quarter-mile timer.
A touchscreen infotainment system comes standard as well as the digital dash. You get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which work well on the screen, but even the Audi user interface is very good and includes sat-nav, DAB, Bluetooth and everything else you need. It’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet, though.
The RS Q3 Sportback has the same size boot as a normal RS Q3, which is good news given the sloping roofline – but the 530 litres there is intact. However, with the rear seats folded down there’s less room in total: 1,400 litres, versus 1,525 litres in the sister car.
However, once the rear seats are back in place and you climb into the rear, it’s clear the RS Q3 is the better choice as headroom isn’t great in the Sportback model. It will be ok for kids but adults in the back will be annoyed by the low roof.
Ultimately the RS Q3 Sportback only makes sense if you really love the way it looks. If you need practicality, get the higher-roofed RS Q3, and if you want an even sportier car to drive, try an Audi RS3 instead.
But if you love the looks and don’t need the better practicality, head over to our deals page to see if we’ve got one for you.