Read Caroline’s Audi Q3 Sportback plug-in hybrid review for everything you need to know about Audi’s new hybrid SUV in Ireland.

Audi is rapidly moving towards an electric future with the addition of new battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to the German brand’s range of cars and SUVs.

The Q family was always the home of Audi’s SUVs and now plug-in hybrid joins the Q3 range.

The Audi Q3 is a mid-size SUV that’s also available as an even more stylish Q3 Sportback with a sloping coupé-like roof line and distinct rear styling compared to the standard Q3.

In this review we’re going to take a closer look at the Audi Q3 Sportback, now available as a plug-in hybrid priced from €51,365.

The Audi Q3 Sportback on test for Changing Lanes!
The Audi Q3 Sportback on test for Changing Lanes!

What’s so special about the Audi Q3 Sportback?

If you’re looking for a classy and stylish SUV, look no further than the Audi Q3 Sportback. It slips into the Audi range above the Audi Q2 and is a premium compact family SUV capable of carrying five people.

At the front, the Q3 Sportback has a big, wide Audi grille that really sets the tone for a fashionable SUV. The Sportback certainly offers a more unique and prestigious design compared to the standard Q3, though you will pay a small premium for it.

It has the same height but the side profile shows off this car’s coupé aspirations. The roof slopes elegantly to the rear of the car and around the back, there is a distinct rear end that you will never tire of looking at!

It’s a classy car and is available in two trim levels in Ireland, which slightly alter the look of the vehicle. SE models come with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, roof rails and roof spoiler.

S Line models are sportier to look at with 19-inch alloy wheels and special S Line bumpers.

The interior of the Audi Q3 Sportback
The interior of the Audi Q3 Sportback

Inside there is a classic Audi cabin that is modern and elegant.

Audi sells the Q3 Sportback with a range of engine options. Choose from a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine (150hp), a 2.0-litre diesel (150hp) or the new 1.4-litre petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (245hp). The plug-in hybrid is one of the most powerful of the range. A battery on board means that it can be plugged in, charged, and driven electric for a range of up to 51 kilometres.

Inside the Q3 Sportback

The Q3 has a modern Audi interior that is packed full of digital features. It’s a classy cabin with a solid build and upmarket finish that you would expect from a car at this price point.

There’s a full digital driver display with crisp graphics and the centre of the dashboard houses a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s lot of gloss black and high quality trim elements. Other standard features include cruise control, dual-zone climate control and lane departure warning.

S Line models have a slightly more sporty cabin ambience with front sports seats, stainless steel pedals, black headliner, S Line badged steering wheel and ambient lighting.

Audi has added a new plug-in hybrid to the popular Q3 range
Audi has added a new plug-in hybrid to the popular Q3 range

The wheelbase is the same as in the standard Q3 so interior space is just about the same. The rear is more suited to two rather than three. Then passengers can enjoy two large footwells. The large transmission tunnel in the middle puts legroom at a premium for a middle seat passenger.The sloping roofline does mean there is a bit less headroom in the Q3 Sportback.

Boot space is also compromised somewhat in the Q3 TFSI e by the hybrid powertrain. At 380 litres that’s more akin to the average family hatchback, which may be enough depending on your needs. And we just love the powered tailgate!

Driving the Audi Q3 Sportback Hybrid

The Audi Q3 Sportback TFSI e uses a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, 13kWh battery and electric motor. The total power output is a healthy 245hp making the plug-in hybrid Q3 the most powerful of the range (other than the bonkers 400hp RS Q3!).

There’s 400 Nm of torque and the Q3 Sportback will sprint to 100km/h in  7.3 seconds. An automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels.

On the road the Q3 Sportback hybrid feels smooth and agile with plenty of power available under your right foot. It’s not the most fun to drive of these mid-size SUVs but does offer a relaxed and refined drive.

The S Line model on test rides on large wheels and a sports suspension and it’s fair to say it’s not the most comfortable configuration for the Q3 and you will feel some of the road surface beneath you.

Rear seating in the Q3 Sportback
Rear seating in the Q3 Sportback

Power is plentiful but you buy a plug-in hybrid for its ability to be more efficient and save you money on your fuel bills. So does the Audi Q3 Sportback TFSI e deliver?

Being a plug-in hybrid means you can plug this car in and charge the battery in a few hours. Electric driving can be prioritised from an EV mode button in the cabin. Otherwise this car will operate as a hybrid.

Certainly it’s most efficient when the battery is charged. There is a limited range of up to about 50 km in the EV mode but that is best reserved for low speed driving around town. Without much charging, my average fuel consumption over a week of driving was 6.7 litres per 100 km.

Did you like it?

The Audi Q3 Sportback becomes an electrified Q model with the addition of a new plug-in hybrid. It gives buyers more options but the old caveat remains: plug-in hybrids are at their best in urban driving where you can make use of the electric driving range. Plugging in and charging should be mandatory to get the best from a car like this.

Otherwise the Q3 Sportback TFSI e offers plenty of power and performance in a stylish SUV-coupé package. This is a car you buy because you love the way it looks. The Sportback loses some practicality to the standard Q3, but not much, and makes up for it with gorgeous, sleek styling.

The Q3 is one of Audi’s bestselling models in Ireland. It’s not the most exciting car to drive but the classy cabin and power of the Audi badge still make it a highly desirable SUV. Now with a plug.

Gorgeous coupé crossover looks for the Audi Q3 Sportback
Gorgeous coupé-crossover looks for the Audi Q3 Sportback

Model tested: Audi Q3 Sportback TFSI e S Line
1.4-litre petrol electric plug-in hybrid
Power: 245hp
Torque: 400Nm
Top speed: 210km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.3 seconds
Motor Tax: €140 per year


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes