Audi’s introduced the next generation of the RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback with an updated exterior look and a powerful 5-cylinder engine.
The RS Q3 was among the first of the sporty “SUV coupes” that have become popular, particularly with German automakers. The latest edition’s been updated with an evolutionary touch rather than a complete remake of the utes.
“We established a completely new segment with the first generation of the Audi RS Q3. In order to continue this success story, we also offer the RS Q3 as an SUV Coupe for customers with a particular affinity for design,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “In doing so, we are setting a trend and tapping new growth potential for Audi Sport GmbH.”
Naturally, taking the “RS” nomenclature gives the new models a tie to the other sport models in the Audi line-up, including the fact that it’s lower to the ground than the standard Q3 model. The gloss black Singleframe with its three-dimensional honeycomb structure adds to the looks, plus it gets an RS-specific bumper with lateral air inlets. The boomerang-shaped blades in the bumper are exclusive to the new model.
The roofline dives down at the back, which enhances the look of the lowered RS Q3 models, features roof edge spoiler in gloss black with the RS-specific spoiler lip making them seem right at home in Audi’s RS line-up.
Audi points out that the new RS Q3 models come with a dual-branch RS exhaust system with large oval tailpipes on both sides for the first time. This exhaust system sits in an RS-specific bumper with rear diffuser and horizontal blades.
The new RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback are powered by a 2.5-liter TFSI 5-cylinder putting out nearly 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. The two new models sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in just 4.5 seconds. Their top speed is regulated at 250 km/h (155.3 mph) or an optional 280 km/h (174 mph), Audi notes. All that power is mated to a 7-speed S tronic with quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
Not only do the new RS Q3 models go fast, they handle well. The lowered body helps with that some, but the new models also come equipped with Dynamic Chassis Control. The system uses sensors to measure the sprung mass vibrations of the body and counteract rolling motions of the body when driving through curves at high speed and during load changes. The RS-tuned dampers are then adjusted
accordingly to the road surface conditions and driving situation.
Depending on the selected equipment, there is a choice of five or six drive modes: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, and individual or, as an alternative to the individual mode, the two new RS-specific modes RS1 and RS2, Audi notes.
While it performs like a sports car, the RS Q3 is still an SUV, which means that even as the smallest member of the Q Family, it needs to haul things around and have room for people too. The five-seater compact has rear seats that fold flat to improve the ute’s available cargo space.
Once you’re inside, Audi still wants it to feel like it’s a driver’s space so the instruments are designed for ease of use and the shared infotainment controls are still angled slightly toward the driver. It also comes with the standard RS sport leather steering wheel, flattened at the bottom, newly designed shift paddles, a new “RS MODE” steering wheel button that allows the driver to control two optional RS modes in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.
The RS-specific displays open automatically in the Audi virtual cockpit plus. Sport seats upholstered with black leather/Alcantara with an RS embossing are fitted as standard. An even sportier variant is available in the form of the RS sport seats in nappa leather with an RS-specific honeycomb pattern and integrated head restraints, Audi says.
Also once inside, the sport aesthetic continues with an option for red or blue color highlights in the interior. The standard ambient lighting package and the multi-color contour/ambient lighting package bath the interior in a healthy glow in the dark.
Naturally comfort and performance are important, but safety hasn’t been forgotten in the name of the aforementioned pair. The RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback are equipped with a vareity standard comfort and safety systems, including the parking system plus as well as lane departure and lane change warnings.
The adaptive cruise assist is a highlight among the optional systems. It takes the burden off the driver during longitudinal and lateral guidance. Ultra-modern systems such as the 360-degree cameras offer assistance with parking and maneuvering.
They show the direct surroundings of the car on the MMI display and allow the driver to choose from several perspectives. If, for example, the driver wants to back out of an entrance, the rear cross-traffic assist warns about approaching vehicles that the system classifies as critical.