Audi Q3 Sportback Road Trip | Update 4: Ride
It has been almost a month since I got handed the key to the Audi Q3 Sportback 40 TFSI Quattro. And in this time I've clocked up a fair bit of mileage across a variety of different roads. From national highways and squiggly mountain passes to crowded city streets and lonely Karoo dirt roads, “Blackbird” has sampled pretty much everything you can think of.
This smorgasbord of surfaces has of course afforded me the opportunity to really get a feel for the Q3 Sportback's ride: how it deals with the lumps and bumps in the road ahead.
Fitted with Audi's handling-orientated 'Sport' suspension system (steel sprung with non-adjustable dampers) as standard and riding atop 19-inch alloy wheels shod with 235/50 tyres, I will freely admit that “Blackbird” does feel noticeably stiff and jittery — sometimes even harsh — when driven at slow speeds across pockmarked surfaces. This characteristic was particularly noticeable threading through Johannesburg suburbs where degraded, uneven asphalt and a plethora of speed bumps made certain journeys rather unpleasant.
Fortunately, once you build up some momentum this handsome SUV morphs into a far more agreeable whip. I was, for example, particularly impressed at how it held its composure across the R43 that runs from Villiersdorp to Worcester: a route home to numerous high-speed bends and sweepers, many of which are off-camber and not in the best condition. The Audi took it all in its stride and never felt flustered when hit with an unseen mid-corner bump. Often these “sporty” suspension set-ups can make a car feel unsettled and nervous when things get choppy at speed but here this isn't the case.
So while the Q3 Sportback 40 TFSI might get jarring within the maintenance-shy confines of the city limits, out on the open road — the place this Audi seems to feel most at home — it settles down nicely: something that bolsters its easy-going cross-country credentials.