Like the previous-generation RS Q3 that never came to the US, the new one uses a version of Audi's turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine that's found in the TT RS. It pushes out an absurd 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, increases of 38 horses and 11 pound-feet over the outgoing model. Audi says both RS Q3 models will hit 62 mph in 4.5 seconds, on their way to a top speed of 155 mph -- or 174 mph, if you spec the right option.and
The wild engine is mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and a Quattro all-wheel-drive system that can distribute torque between the axles as needed. The suspension has been lowered by 0.4 inches compared with the standard, and multiple adaptive damper setups are available, including one that automatically adjusts according to the road surface and cornering and braking forces. Twenty-inch wheels are standard while 21s are available, which Audi says is a first for this class of crossover, and the track has been widened. Bigger steel brakes with six-piston calipers are standard, but even larger carbon-ceramic rotors are optional up front. Two configurable RS driving modes are quickly accessible via buttons on the steering wheel.
While the regular Q3 already has an expressive, aggressive design, the RS Q3 takes it up several notches. The new front bumper has huge air intakes that have the same 3D honeycomb pattern as the big hexagonal grille, which itself has lost the "frame" of the lesser models. There are flared wheel arches, a larger rear spoiler and a new rear diffuser with an oval-shaped exhaust tip at each end. All of the exterior trim -- including the badges -- is finished in gloss black as standard, because, you know, gloss black is sporty, but it's all available in matte aluminum as well. I especially love the look of the Sportback, pictured above, which is painted in the searing new Kyalami Green shade. The RS Q3 is also available in Nardo Gray, which should please Audiphiles.
The interior gets requisite sporty upgrades like leather-covered bucket seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel and piano black or carbon-fiber trim. Multiple RS Design packages are available that add a number of red or blue accents to bits like the steering wheel, seat belts, Alcantara door panels and gear shifter. Two different versions of Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster can be had, with the larger one including a shift light display, and there are RS-specific displays for the Virtual Cockpit and the central touchscreen, as well.
Both RS Q3s will reach European dealerships by the end of the year, with the squareback starting at the equivalent of around $58,000 and the Sportback costing a few thousand more. Unfortunately, Audi of America has confirmed the RS Q3 won't be coming stateside, so I guess we'll just have to lust after this one from afar.