WORLD PREMIERE: Audi RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback — Small Size, Big Power

Ever since the second-generation of Audi Q3 made its debut, we’ve been very excited about the prospect of the RS-version. The idea of a small, good looking crossover with the same powertrain as the Audi TT RS and RS3 was and is surprisingly intriguing. Thankfully, it’s not longer just an idea, as it’s finally here — the Audi RS Q3.

Audi just debuted its new RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback, the standard car and the “coupe” version, respectively. This isn’t actually the first generation of RS Q3 but it is the first time it’s been offered in two flavors.

“The first Audi RS Q3 established its own segment. We aim to continue this success story with the new generation of the compact high-performance SUV,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “With the offering of the all-new Audi RS Q3 Sportback, a progressive SUV coupe crossover, we are the trendsetter and are leveraging to the full the phenomenal growth potential for Audi Sport.”

From the outside, this new Audi RS Q3 looks very beefy and aggressive. It gets massive wheels, aggressive front air intakes, sportier body work and a lowered suspension. All of which combine to make it a very sporty looking little crossover. The RS Q3 Sportback looks even sportier, thanks to its more aggressively raked roofline. Also, its all-new Kyalama Green color doesn’t hurt, either. It’s a great new color and it works well on the Sportback.

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It also gets the new Audi Sport grille design, which is frame-less and sports three little vents just under the hood. A honeycomb pattern fills the grille and looks very sporty.

Thankfully, the Audi RS Q3 actually sports real exhaust pipes, a rarity for modern Audis nowadays, and they’re the typical massive ovals found on Audi Sport models. The back also gets an aggressive roof spoiler but the RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback get different ones. The standard car’s is raised on either side of the spoiler while the Sportback’s is essentially flat.

Inside, it’s not much different than the standard Q3. It does get new sport seats, carbon fiber trim and the new RS-style Virtual Cockpit but it’s a pretty standard upgrade package over the Q3. That’s not a bad thing, as the Q3’s cabin is great looking and this one looks even better but it’s just not overly flashy or drastically changed over the base car.

What you really want to know about, though, is what’s under the hood. Powering, the Audi RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback is a 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine, the same one that powers the TT RS. Just like the TT RS and RS3, the turbo-five in the RS Q3 is an all-aluminum unit that makes 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. That engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and sends powers to all four wheels.

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According to Audi, the RS Q3 can get from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which is actually pretty quick for a crossover. Though, we do expect it to be even faster than that, as all modern Audis are seriously underrated, as we recently learned yet again.

The best part about this 2.5 liter turbo five-pot is its noise, though. The five-cylinders off-beat growl is one of the coolest engine sounds in the industry.

Much like the new RS7, the Audi RS Q3 gets two configurable driving modes, labeled RS1 and RS2. These are configurable presets that allow the driver to set their preferred engine, suspension, steering and gearbox settings. This isn’t entirely new, as Audi has had configurable presets before but having two specific RS-labeled presets is relatively new to Audi Sport (even though BMW and AMG have had them for awhile now).

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The new Audi RS Q3 sits 10 millimeters lower than the standard car and is fitted with much sportier suspension. The brand’s new Dynamic Damper Control (DDC) is also available and is likely worth the extra cost, from what we’ve heard about the RS7. Standard brakes feature steel ventilated rotors and massive six-piston calipers. Carbon ceramics are available as an option. So it should handle and stop as well as it accelerates.

Orders start for the European market in October and prices will start at €63,500 for the standard Audi RS Q3 and €65,000 for the RS Q3 Sportback.

CategoriesEditorial RS Q3
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.