Audi Sport is serious about taking on all would-be competition in just about all segments. Here come the new Audi RS Q3!
Of all the Audi Sport RS models, the smallest is the most insane. This is not, mind you, the first Audi RS Q3. One was unleashed a few years ago with the first generation of the Q3 but the new RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback are on a different playing field.
I was able to drive a 2014 Audi RS Q3 in Europe and discovered an impossibly fast compact crossover that negotiated the Alps with surprising ease. On paper at least, the new RS is a giant-killer compared to the old.
The previous RS Q3 relied on the legendary turbocharged inline 5-cylinder 2.5-litre TFSI engine. It was rated at 310-horsepower and an equal 310 lb.-ft. of torque. The new one retains the services of the 5-pot but it’s been heavily reworked and now produces a massive 400-horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque. The difference in output is sufficient to drop the 0-100 km/h time from 5.5 seconds to 4.5 seconds.
Associated with the Fiver is a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission followed by the quattro permanent AWD system. The genius with this version of quattro is that it distributes torque between the axles via a multiplate clutch as required by the driving conditions and demands.
Backing the power is a slew of delightful and desirable components. The first is the RS sport suspension lowers the body by 10mm compared to the regular Q3s. The RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) is optional and features adaptive dampers. 20-inch wheels are standard and they cover large ventilated steel brakes at all four corners. Larger RS ceramic brakes can be optioned as can 21-inch wheels.
Both the Audi RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback feature a very driver-oriented cabin. In fact, A/C controls, the center console and the MMI touch display are turned 10 degrees toward the driver. On top of this, the RS Q3s get the Audi Virtual Cockpit with special RS displays. The steering wheel sports RS 1 and RS 2 drive select modes and finally, the Sport seats covered in black leather/Alcantara with RS embossing are not just for show.
As for styling, both RS Q3s are sharp and attractive however the stunner is the Sportback. From the front, they look similar but stepping reveals a different vehicle. In fact, the Sportback is 100% different from “A” pillar back as its roofline is a full 45mm lower than the other Q3. For both, the Singleframe gloss black grill with three-dimensional honeycomb structure surrounded by large air-inlets leaves no doubts about the small SUV’s desire for speed. The RS Q3 finally gets dual exhaust tips, which were missing on the earlier iteration, along with an RS-specific rear bumper with gloss black or matte aluminum rear diffuser and horizontal blades
The outgoing generation of the Audi RS Q3 was a riot and a huge success so a follow-up was obvious. Canada, and the US, were never privy to the little beast but this one is coming to our shores next year. As for the Sportback, no confirmation yet as to its presence on our market but let’s keep our hopes up.