SPIED: Audi RS Q3 caught testing at the Nurburgring

We’ve been pretty vocal with our feelings about the current-gen Audi Q3. It’s just not any good. As a transportation appliance, it’s fine. But so, too, is a Toyota Corolla. The Q3 is boring, slow, lazy and ancient. It’s still built on the old Mk VI Volkswagen Golf platform, while every other Audi has moved to either the new MQB or MLB platform, both of which are excellent. So the Q3 is built on old bones and it feels it, especially inside where its tech feels a decade old. However, Audi is working on a new Q3 and it’s shaping up to be quite good. Especially because it will have a proper Audi Sport version, the Audi RS Q3. Some new spy photos of it have just surfaced, showing it testing on the Nurburgring. (We don’t own the spy photos but check them out here)

The Audi RS Q3 is no secret. There have been spy photos of it caught testing before. It’s always good to check it out, though, as we’re very curious as to how it turns out. Especially this new RS Q3, as it will be the fastest, most exciting version. And the fact that it’s testing on the ‘Ring shows off that Audi means business about its performance and handling.

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As far as looks go, it’s nothing we haven’t already seen. The test mule in these photos is heavily wrapped in camouflage, making it almost impossible to make out anything of importance. However, we can see its headlights and taillights, the former of which look like the upcoming Audi e-tron’s and the latter look like the Audi Q5’s. It also seems to get pretty large brake calipers, so it must have some serious performance.

Inside, we can see that it sports Audi’s new corporate steering wheel, the latest version of Virtual Cockpit that debuted on the new Audi A8 and half of the A8’s new touchscreen-based MMI system. I say half because it only has the top of two screens, with the bottom HVAC controls seemingly being button and switch operated.

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We don’t know for sure what sort of engine will power the Audi RS Q3. But considering that the Q3 will be based on Audi’s new MQB architecture, its engine will have to be transversely mounted. The most potent engine Audi currently has that can be fitted sideways into a car is its brilliant 2.5 liter turbocharged I5 engine used in the RS3 and TT RS. If that’s the case, the RS Q3 will likely make around 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, the same figures as the aforementioned five-cylinder Audi Sport cars. That should be enough to make the little RS Q3 properly quick.

We’re excited to see what becomes of this little performance SUV. It seems to look cool and will almost certainly have the performance potential to be fun. We’ll have to wait and see. One thing’s for certain, though, this Audi RS Q3 will be a lot better than any current Q3 offering.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.