AUDI'S compact SUV - the Q3 - has gained plug-in hybrid technology and there is also a new Sportback version that brings coupe-like styling to the mix.
The Q3 TFSI e in Sportback guise is priced from £44,210 and customers can choose from trim levels calledS Line, Black Edition and Vorsprung.
We opted for the high-end Vorsprung version costing £50,785. Optional metallic paint added a further £575 to the price.
This five-door model is quite a head-turner with muscular styling and lots of black trim. For example, the radiator grille, Audi emblem, wheel arches, sills and mirror caps are black. There is privacy glass, sweeping light clusters with Matrix LED headlights, a rear spoiler and 20-inch alloys.
Move inside and the interior is very premium in its design and layout with fine leather upholstery, ambient lighting, a sunroof and a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The powered sports seats can be heated to fend off the winter chill and there is a wealth of technology to explore, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a SONOS sound system, DAB radio, dual-zone climate control and a wireless charging pad.
The car is supplied with three years' subscription to Audi Connect and that adds Google Earth mapping along with real-time traffic alerts, updates on available parking spaces, speed restrictions and lots more besides.
And there is the now traditional 12-3-inch virtual cockpit display behind the three-spoke steering wheel which can be configured to taste and shows all the vital driving data, along with available EV range and battery charge levels.
The Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e is powered by a punchy 1.4-litre 150ps petrol engine that works in tandem with a 13kWh battery and 85kW electric motor to generate an output of 245ps and 400Nm of torque.
This translates into performance figures that are impressive with a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.3 seconds and maximum speed that is limited to 130mph.
The car has an EV-only driving range of 45 to 50 miles and, according to WLTP testing, can deliver a combined 141.2mpg with carbon emissions of 45g/km.
While this fuel efficiency figure would only ever be achievable if the Q3 was driven the majority of the time in fully electric mode and charged regularly, the low carbon emissions figure brings lots of financial rewards to owners, especially business drivers.
When it comes to performance, this front wheel-drive, plug-in Q3 certainly delivers the goods with instant torque and acceleration out the starting blocks.
The range-topping Vorsprung version boasts electronically-controlled adaptive suspension with damping control to iron out the road surfaces and help the car corner more efficiently.
The acceleration through the six-speed S tronic automatic gearbox is both smooth and responsive with steering wheel paddles for added driver engagement.
Drive modes called Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual alter the reactions of the vehicle, with Dynamic proving ideal for twisting country lanes where the road holding is ultra grippy and the car has superb balance through tighter bends.
There are also hybrid-specific modes called EV for electric driving; Auto Hybrid for the most efficient use of the petrol/battery set-up; Battery Hold to save the charge and Battery Charge to add EV miles from the petrol engine on the move.
This Q3 is a fabulous all-rounder as it cruises at 70mph on motorways but also proved to be agile and easy to manoeuvre in busier town centres, where the Park Assist system will make you look like an expert as it helps squeeze the vehicle into tight parking spaces.
There is room for a trio of youngsters in the back, but the tapering roofline does mean taller back seat passengers will find their hair brushing the headlining. Storage options are good with a boot that can swallow 380 litres, increasing to 1,250 litres with the rear seats dropped flat. There is a powered tailgate for convenience, along with a lockable glovebox, front and rear cup holders, a cubby beneath the front armrest, door bins and a hidden compartment next to the driver's door.
Charging the Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e takes about three hours and 45 minutes via a domestic wallbox and Audi supplies the Type 2 cable as standard, along with a Type 3 cable for faster charging away from home.