Audi has a bit of a habit of stuffing massively powerful engines into vehicles that don’t have much business having under their hoods. It’s something Audi has done for awhile and, despite the silliness of it sometimes, has had some great success. Well, the folks from Ingolstadt are at it again, this time with the Audi RS Q3.
Based on the humdrum Audi Q3 crossover, the RS Q3 is a grin-inducing good time. Where as the standard Q3 is a bit milquetoast and doesn’t inspire much enthusiasm, the RS Q3 is all character. Instead of the 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the Q3, the RS Q3 packs the same 2.5 liter turbocharged inline-five cylinder engines as the Audi RS3 Sportback and TT RS. This means 305 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. The 2.5 liter engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox and powers all four wheels through Audi’s Quattro system. This allows the RS Q3 to get from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds, which isn’t staggeringly fast, but it’s brisk enough to be a lot of fun.
Most of the power is sent to the front wheels under normal driving conditions, but the Quattro system can send 60 percent of the power to the rear wheels during hard driving. According to Motor Magazine, this helps the Audi RS Q3 become one of the better handling SUVs on the market and feels more like a sports car than an SUV. Turn in is said to be sharp as well as the chassis and the brakes do excellent work of slowing the car down. The massive eight-piston calipers up front probably have a lot to do with that.
Usually, SUVs that are stuffed with powerful engines and fitted with stiffer suspension are fast in a straight line but rarely fun in the twisties. It seems that the Audi RS Q3 is quite the opposite. Despite its power advantage, it’s no faster than a Volkswagen GTI, so it isn’t all that fast. But it does handle very well and is properly enjoyable to drive. Add in the utility of it and the Audi RS Q3 is actually quite the total package. It’s unlikely that the RS Q3 will make it Stateside, as we tend to not get any of the interesting RS models, but if we do, $57,808 is around where it would cost, which isn’t terrible with that kind of performance and practicality. Hopefully we can get this one in the ‘States.Motor Mag]