Audi RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback 30 | 09 | 2019

    AUDI HAS UNVEILED RS versions of its Q3 and newly launched Q3 Sportback small SUVs. Both models use the same engine from the RS 3 Sportback, and will be go on sale early next year. Prices will start from around £50,000 for the RS Q3, rising to around £51,000 for the Sportback. (Related: Audi trails AI:Trail quattro)

    Externally the RS Q3 gets a more aggressive looking bumper from regular Audi Q3 models, while a new gloss-black and honeycombed-finish grille is bookended by large air vents. Look closely and you’ll notice there’s also a small slot  which sits above the grille but below the edge of the bonnet, and marks out the RS version.

    There’s a 10mm extension for both front and rear wheelarches , while at the rear there’s also a new spoiler. And protruding from the new rear bumper are, for the first time, two oval-shaped exhaust pipes. A sports exhaust system is available on the options list. (Related: New A1 Citycarver)


    Interestingly, it’s the RS Q3 Sportback which Audi is touting as the more sporting version. Like the standard Q3 Sportback, the coupe RS version also gets a roofline which is 45mm lower than the more practical RS Q3.


    The designers have also ensured the RS version gets the same rising shoulder line as the Q3 Sportback. Sitting further down the body, it gives the impression the car is sitting lower to the ground. There’s also a different spoiler  on the RS Q3 Sportback, when compared to the RS Q3. And while the RS Q3 has a large lip spoiler at the front, that fitted to the coupe SUV is more subtly discreet. (Related: New Audi Q4 e-tron concept)


    Power in both cars comes from the 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine found in the RS 3 Sportback. In the RS Q3 it pumps out 335bhp (or 362bhp in RS Q3 Performance specification), meaning 0-62mph in 4.5secs; that’s 0.4s faster than the previous RS Q3 but 0.1s slower than the old Performance model. Pay a bit extra and the top speed can be increased to 174mph, 19mph quicker than the ‘standard’ RS Q3.


    Power is fed to all four wheels via Audi’s seven-speed S tronic gearboxes, while a range of driving modes allow the driver two tweak the car’s characteristics. These —as in the latest RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback — include new Drive Select, RS1 and RS2 settings. These hardcore options give the driver more ways to change the engine, throttle, suspension, steering and gearbox parameters.


    RS sport suspension —which sallow both RS Q3s to sit 10mm lower to the ground than regular models — is standard, as are ventilated and perforated 375mm steel brakes at the front and perforated 310mm discs at the back. There’s also 20in alloys as standard, with the option of 21in wheels and ceramic brakes.


    And while Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit is also standard, there’s an option box to upgrade to a display incorporating shift lights. Both systems get RS-specific displays which feature lap time, tyre pressure, g-force and torque information.

    Owners can also choose from a host of interior upgrades, including RS sports seats; part-leather, part-alcantara sports seats are standard. There are also two new body colours: Kylami green and Naro grey.


    Related: Audi Q5 55 TFSI e gets all-electric range

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    Jim McGill



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