What's the news?
Eventually, we knew it was going to happen. Welcome to the RS Q3: Audi's first attempt at an RS-badged SUV. The new model is set to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in a couple of weeks and will be the fourth new RS model to be launched this year after the RS 5 Cabriolet, the RS 6 Avant and the RS 7 Sportback.
Typically, Audi hasn't been shy in announcing its flagship Q3 to other road users. A bespoke body kit has been created for the RS Q3, complete with RS badging. The front grille sports a high-gloss black honeycomb finish and the front air intake features a chrome surround and a 'quattro' motif. The silver detailing is continued on the new roof rails and on the sides of the rear roof spoiler. Round the back, more chrome is found on the diffuser insert and on the large twin exhaust pipes. For added exclusivity, buyers can opt for a Sepang Blue pearl effect paint finish as well as seven other colours. New alloy wheels and RS branded brake callipers complete the exterior flourishes.
Like the outside, the enhancements to the interior of the RS Q3 are unmistakable. Sports seats with contrasting stitching have been fitted, together with a flat-bottomed branded steering wheel and white-on-grey dials. Aluminium pedals are standard, and can be complemented by an optional 'lunar' silver headlining. The dashboard inserts are typically offered in piano black; although buyers can opt for aluminium or carbon effect items instead. The infotainment system comes with a number of upgrades including MMI Navigation plus, a 14-speaker 465-watt BOSE surround sound system and Audi Connect. As well as this the screen can display boost pressure, oil temperature and a lap timer.
The flagship Q3 gets its power from a turbocharged 2.5-litre TFSI engine, featuring five cylinders and direct fuel injection. Output figures sit at 310hp and 420Nm of torque, which will get the RS Q3 from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds and onto a limited top speed of 155mph. Despite this, fuel economy is quoted at a respectable 32.1mpg thanks to a standard start-stop system and an on-demand oil pump. Audi's Drive Select Adaptive Dynamics system is also standard, offering a choice between auto, comfort and dynamic modes. New suspension, brakes, steering and differential setups should give the RS Q3 the same driving experience we've come to love from fast Audis too.
Prices for the RS Q3 are due to be announced at a later stage, but we do know that order books will open in the summer, ahead of first deliveries that are expected later this year.
James Giddings - 21 Feb 2013