A performance SUV for every occasion, the Audi RS Q3 is a great blend of practicality and sportiness
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Need to know
The RS Q3 is one of very few cars on sale that use a five-cylinder engine. Packed with character, this 2.5-litre unit produces almost 400bhp.
Back in 2011, the RS Q3 became Audi’s first ever SUV to wear the famous ‘RS’ badge, which remains limited to only its flagship performance models.
Serving up 395bhp from that five-cylinder petrol engine, the RS Q3 is able to accelerate from 0-60mph in just 4.3 seconds.
RS Q3 range
20" '10 spoke star' design alloy wheels
RS Sport Suspension
LED headlights with LED daytime running lights
Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus
Parking system plus
RS Q3 Audi Sport Edition
21" '5-V-spoke polygon' design alloy wheels
Dark tinted Matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators
Black Styling Pack
Panoramic glass sunroof
RS Sport exhaust system
A five-cylinder performance SUV is a truly unique proposition, and the RS Q3 more delivers on its promise to be a dynamic and involving model. Accompanied by a wonderful engine note, few will be left wishing for more performance. Yet, for all the pace, Audi has ensured the RS Q3 is still a very easy car to live with – offering a high-quality interior and plenty of space. If you want and need a practical SUV but don’t want to sacrifice on driving enjoyment, the RS Q3 is the way to go.
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The regular Audi Q3 serves as one of the German firm’s more sensible SUV options – offering plenty of space combined with comfort and plenty of equipment. The RS Q3 is designed to be quite a different proposition, thanks to its characterful five-cylinder engine, it offers exhilarating performance and all the thrills to go with it.
Yet, at its core, the RS Q3 is still a practical family SUV – one capable of offering plenty of space, lots of creature comforts and everyday usability.
Audi lets buyers choose from various looks for the RS Q3. Painted in bright shades like Kyalami Grey and Turbo Blue, this performance SUV certainly stands out. Yet opt for a more subtle colour choice and the standard ‘RS Q3’ trim, riding on silver alloy wheels, and this is a delightfully undercover sports model.
But there’s lots of ‘RS’ nods in terms of the model’s design, including a specific honeycomb structure for the large and imposing grille, along with the large oval exhaust tips. Choosing an Audi Sport Edition or Vorsprung version also brings a more muscular design courtesy of larger alloy wheels and more prominent gloss black styling.
Though the Audi RS Q3 might be the brand’s most affordable performance SUV, it’s most certainly not lacking on the technology front. All versions come equipped with a large 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit – an easily configurable digital instrument cluster that offers a host of different designs. A 10.1-inch Audi MMI touchscreen is present too. Bringing advanced features such as wireless smartphone mirroring and satellite navigation using overlays from Google Earth.
Music lovers can also indulge themselves with the optional Sonos sound system, while if you do plenty of miles a year, the Driver Assistance Pack is worth specifying, as this brings adaptive cruise assist and Audi Side Assist blind spot monitoring to name just a few features.
Engines & Performance
The star of the show with the RS Q3 is what lies under the bonnet – a 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, which is also shared with the fantastic RS3 and TT RS. Paired to a seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission, drive is delivered to all four wheels through Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system. Producing 395bhp and 480Nm of torque, it’s certainly not shy of pace.
The five-cylinder engine is also accompanied by a particularly sporty engine note that’s missing from four-cylinder units, while this can be enhanced further by specifying an RS Sports exhaust system, though this is fitted as standard to all but the base car. If you’re intending to drive the RS Q3 hard, optional ceramic brakes – providing much-improved stopping power – are an option box worth ticking.
With all that power on tap, there are some impressive statistics to back up the RS Q3’s performance claims. Accelerating from 0-60mph takes just 4.5 seconds – a figure capable of rivalling many sports cars. Flat out – and where permitted – the RS Q3 also has a top speed electronically limited to 155mph, though this can be raised to 174mph as an option.
Unsurprisingly, the RS Q3 isn’t the most efficient car on the market, though Audi has made a number of revisions to maximise fuel economy, and it’s likely better on fuel than you’d expect. Audi claims 29.4mpg* on the combined cycle, along with CO2 emissions of 217g/km*.
*All vehicles are tested according to WLTP technical procedures. Figures shown are for comparability purposes; only compare fuel consumption, CO2 and equivalent electric range figures with other vehicles tested to the same technical procedures. These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles, vehicle load (and, for battery electric vehicles, the starting charge of the battery).