The Audi Q3, the smallest SUV that the brand sells in the US, is getting a spin-off. The new model called the Q3 Sportback will feature a sportier roofline similar to competitors like the BMW X2, a coupe-like version of the X1.
The Q3 Sportback, which will debut this year, is expected to be available in the US in 2020. Audi, which has yet to compete against Mercedes-Benz and BMW with a coupe-SUV, is going all in with the Q3 Sportback with a roofline that slopes in the back. Although mechanically the same as the new Q3, which uses the Volkswagen Group's MQB architecture, the new Sportback will join the Q8, which is an SUV variation of the Q7. There is also expected to be an e-tron Sportback version soon as well.
The Q3 Sportback will also have the same turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine as the standard Q3, with standard Quattro AWD and eight-speed automatic transmission. The sloping roofline will limit the cargo space. According to Audi, the Q3 Sportback hopes to macth the success of the Audi Q8 in the full-size class, adding that the vehicle has all the qualities of an SUV as well as the dynamic lines of a Sportback.
Audi sales have grown robustly in the millennium with deliveries increasing from 653,000 in 2000 to 1,003,000 in 2008. The largest sales growth has come from Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. China is also a key market, which represented 108,000 out of the 705,000 cars delivered in the first three quarters of 2009. Audis are the car of choice of Chinese government officials, accounting for 20% of its sales in China.
Yesterday, at the Annual General Meeting held in Neckarsulm, Audi discussed the “unsatisfactory performance in 2018” and how it intends to bounce back this year. Deliveries last year were down by 3.5 percent compared to 2017, partly as a result of the decrease being the switch from NEDC to WLTP that affected product availability. The company hopes to stage a comeback by introducing new models, including a total of nine S and an additional four R and RS models, which are scheduled for release in 2019.
Although some have noted that the Q3 will further split the niche of the coupe-SUVs among German automakers, the BMW X4 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Coupe have sold very well, therefore, there is room for expansion.
The Q3 Sportback will make its debut in September at the 2019 Frankfurt International Motor Show.