Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

We reckon the Audi Q3 Sportback's 1.5-litre 148bhp petrol engine (badged 35 TFSI) should be enough for most drivers.

Its mild-hybrid technology recuperates a small amount of energy as you brake, stores it in a small battery and deploys it through an electric motor to assist the petrol engine. It works well, improving acceleration and fuel economy, but the engine still feels strained when worked hard.

The Q3 Sportback’s diesel engines are fairly loud when you accelerate hard and, to a lesser extent, the same is true of the 35 TFSI petrol engine. However, it gets close to matching the Range Rover Evoque for low levels of wind and road noise, even with 20in wheels (the largest available).

Audi's Drive Select system is standard across the range, and allows you to adjust how the car feels on the road. Dynamic is supposed to be the sportiest mode, and combines heavier steering and sharper (if often jerky) accelerator responses. It also firms up the adaptive suspension, if you have it fitted.

Unfortunately, despite having plenty of grip, the Q3 Sportback is rather short on driver involvement. If you’re a keen driver, the Evoque, BMW X2 and Seat Ateca are considerably more fun through the corners.

The standard sports suspension is relatively firm – you’ll notice most road imperfections as you drive along. With adaptive suspension fitted, the Q3 Sportback rides fairly smoothly in Comfort mode, but if comfort is a priority, the Evoque is a better bet.

Audi Q3 Sportback 2021 rear cornering