Audi Q3 Sportback 1.5 MHEV Review : Mild Baller
Singapore - Audi’s compact half-SUV, half-Coupe compact, the Q3 Sportback, is now more efficient, as it is offered with a 1.5 litre MHEV powertrain.
We had the opportunity to take its sister car, the Q3 SUV for an epic shakedown from Singapore to Hat Yai a while ago (also, check out our trip back to Singapore with the Audi A3 1.0 MHEV), and averaged 18.5km/l, and topped out at 22km/l.
While it is styled as a “sporty coupe”, mechanically, both the regular Q3 and the Sportback are the same. But for extra coin, you get a sleek stylised-sloped roof, paired with a slightly more elongated rear-end.
Over on the inside, you can tell there is an eye for quality. The dashboard is sculpted to include a black panel, which spans two-thirds across. In it, there is an infotainment touchscreen which benefits from Audi Connect Plus and Google’s POI search. For the driver, there is a full-on digital Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus instrument panel, which offers some flexibility to how you’d want to display your drive data.
Overall, the Q3 Sportback accommodates four passengers well. Whoever with that sloped roof, those who are above average in height might find themselves with a new hairdo after exiting the vehicle. For its small footprint, the Q3 Sportback is incredibly versatile. While its 530 litre boot might be 10 litres less than the BMW X1, the rear seats can be moved forward to add an additional 145 litres to the cargo area. For reference, this is only 20 litres less than a BMW X3 and Audi Q5.
The 1.5 litre turbocharged MHEV engine, the same one found in some of the group’s cars (like the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia), is derived from the 1.4 litre mill found in the present Q3 when it was first launched. The current 1.5 MHEV engine produces the same 150hp and 250Nm (which keeps this as a Category B COE car), though max torque does taper off slightly earlier.
What is new to the powertrain, is a belt alternator starter (BAS), which does two jobs, which is to provide a small boost, and also charges the tiny under-seat 48V battery. The new 1.5 gets Cylinder-on-Demand technology which cuts cylinders 2 and 3 when cruising. Together with the 7-speed S tronic transmission's ability to pop into neutral, to allow the car to coast, and the engine being able to even turn-off while doing this, makes for one of the most advanced commercially available powertrains today.
Given how leggy the Q3 Sportback is, it handles decently well. However, with the sporty get-up, the suspension still has some comfort dialled into it. I might be wrong, but it also seems that Audi has piped a little bit of fake engine noise into the cabin just for the Sportback.
The Compact Premium SUV is a popular choice in Singapore, with offerings like the Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1 and the Audi Q3 in great demand. But this would then mean that they are really quite ubiquitous. But if you are willing to splash about $9k more for something a little different, the Q3 Sportback’s styling certainly would turn heads.
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
2022 Audi Q3 Sportback Mild Hybrid 1.5 TFSI S tronic
Engine 1498, inline4 turbocharged with MHEV
Transmission 7-speed S tronic
Top Speed 204km/h
Fuel Consumption 5.8l/100km (combined)