Review: The 2022 Audi Q3 Sportback is the overlooked SUV coupe that you'll ever need

The SUV coupe is the Crocs shoes/slippers of automotive design; it’s often mocked but at the same time many people find it appealing and continue to buy them despite what critics say. That’s not to say the Audi Q3 Sportback is a bad-looking car, in fact, I might start off by complimenting how inoffensive-looking it is.

But looks can be subjective and some might even find the BMW X4/X6 or the Mercedes-Benz GLC/GLE Coupe as “pretty”. I’m not a styling guru nor is my wardrobe filled with designer clothes (it’s mostly “Value Buy” Uniqlo apparel) but compared to the larger Teutonic coupe SUV rivals, the Q3 Sportback stands out better.


With Audi now distributed by PHS Automotive Malaysia (PHSAM), a subsidiary of Porsche Holding Salzburg (PHS) that also owns Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM), is the Q3 Sportback the right crossover for buyers who wanted something other than the usual offerings from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, or Volvo?

Also read: Audi now has a new owner in Malaysia, VPCM's sister company PHSAM to also sell RS models

Exterior – Ninja turtle in a suit?

I’ve already said my part about what I think about the whole SUV coupe crossover style in the intro. In short, from the first true SUV coupe, the forgotten Ssangyong Actyon to the Europeans that paved the way, I never liked it.

Also read: 15 years ago, this Korean car invented the SUV-coupe, not BMW!

However, the Audi Q3 Sportback somehow makes the much-maligned design work. It is attractive for an SUV coupe and I kinda dig the sportiness that the Four Rings of Ingolstadt have imbued into the overall looks.

The sloping rear makes it almost like a baby Lamborghini Urus or a Porsche Cayenne Coupe but it still has the Audi design traits that most find a bit conservative or at worst too similar to other Audi models.

The Q3 Sportback is only offered in Malaysia with one variant, the S line 2.0 TFSI quattro and compared to the regular Q3 SUV, the Sportback at least gives more presence especially when it is stationary.

The sloping design also makes it look like a turtle but that shouldn’t be a bad thing to describe the looks. The Turbo Blue colour on our review unit definitely stands out from the staid grey/white/black colours of these premium crossovers but the Q3 Sportback is also offered with 9 other hues if you find this light blue colour too striking for your taste.

Interior – Everything is easy to reach

While its contemporary European rivals go for a more futuristic dashboard layout with a lot of emphasis on the wide array of screens, the Q3 Sportback's interior doesn't feel too overwhelming in comparison.

Also read: The W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class’ giant touchscreen is a bad sign of things to come

A large 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display lies in the middle of the dashboard and serves as the heart for many of the controls like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and to also select the drive modes. Yet, adjusting the air-cond fan speed and temperature is still done via the old-school knobs which are well-placed for the driver.

It feels good to have proper buttons in a premium luxury car

It’s a bit of a breath of fresh air and familiarity when stepping inside the Q3 Sportback with even the steering wheel controls being straightforward buttons. Unlike the Volkswagen Golf’s sensitive capacitive ones.

Also read: Touch-sensitive buttons a mistake? VW to bring back physical buttons on steering wheel

The Q3 Sportback is also chock full of compartments that belies the whole coupe SUV approach. Yet, the rear can feel a bit cramped in terms of headroom thanks to the sloping rear roof design.

I’m 173 cm tall and the rear headroom has barely enough space to fit one tennis ball though rear legroom is not that compromised. Seating in the rear can be comfortable but for taller folks, you may feel a bit of discomfort especially since your head will touch the roof.

Driving impressions – Easy in the city with some added pizzazz around corners

Aside from the design, the biggest difference between the Q3 Sportback and the regular Q3 is the engine. The Malaysian-spec Q3 is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre TFSI that makes 150 PS and 250 Nm while the Q3 Sportback has a turbocharged 2.0-litre TFSI unit that makes 180 PS and 320 Nm.

Still, the Q3 Sportback despite its hefty looks is quite brisk in the acceleration department. We have yet to do a review on the Q3 but in our 0-100 km/h test, this Turbo Blue Q3 Sportback managed a time of 8.49 seconds.

The Q3 Sportback’s only transmission offered in Malaysia is a 7-speed S tronic DCT which like many DCTs comes with that feeling of jerkiness if you’re not accustomed to it which can be felt especially between 3rd and 4th gears.

Audi Q3 Sportback sound test
Speed Noise level (dB)
0 km/h (Idle) 47
60 km/h 62
90 km/h 66
110 km/h 68

Still, it can be an engaging SUV to drive while also being a capable cruiser on the highway. We did a sound test too and at 110 km/h, our trusty decibel meter recorded a respectable 68 dB.

Introduce the Q3 Sportback to the corners however and the SUV really shines. There is minimal bodyroll as you enter the bends and when you put it in Dynamic Mode, which is Audi’s way of calling sport mode, this hulking SUV turns into a nimble hot hatch.

It’s very pliant around the bends and unsurprisingly, given all that quattro heritage, makes you feel like rally legends Walter Rohl or Michelle Mouton behind the wheel.

Fuel consumption – Impressive for a vehicle of its size

For the fuel consumption test, we drove for a little over 100 km on a mix of highways (60%) and city traffic (40%) and we achieved 9.1L/100 km. The Q3 Sportback’s trip computer’s reading of 8.7L/100 km isn’t that far off our actual reading but at this figure, suffice to say, the coupe SUV is not much of a gas guzzler.

Features – A bit lacking for RM 300k

As mentioned a few paragraphs ago, the Q3 Sportback is only available with one fully-imported (CBU) variant, the S line 2.0 TFSI quattro which is priced from RM 351,223 on the road. You get the S line exterior and interior packages, LED headlights with high beam assist, a flat-bottomed multi-spoke leather steering wheel, and a 2-zone climate control system.

Tech features offered include the Audi virtual cockpit plus, Audi drive select, Audi’s MMI infotainment, and wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

When's the last time you see a cruise control stalk on a brand-new car?

Active safety features though feel a bit sparse for a RM 350k coupe SUV with lane change assist, blind-spot monitors, and Audi pre-sense basic being offered but no AEB, unlike similarly priced rivals. There’s no adaptive cruise control feature and what you get instead is a basic cruise control that is toggled by a separate stalk just like in one of those old-school luxury cars from 20 years ago.

Rivals – Alone but not quite

Technically, the Q3 Sportback has one direct rival that shares a similar coupe crossover design in its segment, the BMW X2, which has been discontinued in Malaysia. Still, for RM 350k, there are other continental rivals that can be considered against the Four Rings of Ingolstadt.

From Munich, there’s the bigger BMW X3 xDrive 30i M Sport which starts from RM 346,560 and from Stuttgart, you could opt for the potent Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 which is priced from RM 370,888. If you prefer something Scandinavian and perhaps green, you could go for the Volvo C40 Recharge EV which starts from RM 288,888.

Also read: Review: 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLA35 (CKD) - School run and trackday star, but light on fizz

Granted, all three of these more mainstream rivals are locally-assembled (CKD) which in terms of pricing, puts the Q3 Sportback at a bit of a disadvantage aside from some lack of active safety features. Still, after going through it all, is the Q3 Sportback even worth considering?


Well, to put it simply, yes. If you’re just looking to get an SUV that has all the prestige and pedigree of a luxury marque, the Q3 Sportback is not the right vehicle for you. You’re better off looking at a BMW or a Mercedes if you’re that sort of person who just wants a premium SUV for your regular runs at Bangsar or Bukit Bintang.

But if you’re looking for something special, something that will not only stand out in Pavilion KL or Mont Kiara but even in traffic, then the Audi Q3 Sportback might be suited for you. Not only will this win you some stares, especially in this Turbo Blue colour, but if you’re so inclined to enjoy the beauty of trunk roads, it will eventually win you over any day than its more mainstream rivals.

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CY Foong


Traded advertising for a career that fits his passion for cars. Enjoys spotting cars during his free time and has a soft spot...

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