The premium brand is honing its sporty profile with new RS performance models. The “performance” in the name stands for both a significant power boost and exclusive equipment that clearly elevates the respective model above the rest of the portfolio. This also applies to the new RS Q3 performance, whose pulse is driven by the legendary Audi five-cylinder engine. Since 2010, an international panel of automotive journalists has named the 2.5 TFSI “International Engine of the Year” in its category six years in a row. With its pulling power, free-revving character and inimitable sound, goosebumps are guaranteed.
Compared with the RS Q3, Audi has bumped up the output of the 2.5 TFSI engine for the performance model. The developers increased the cooling capacity of the main radiator and optimized the fuel pump to give the five-cylinder turbo in the RS Q3 performance 20 kW (27 hp) more power. Peak torque of 465 Nm (343.0 lb ft) is available between 1,625 and 5,550 rpm. The sporty, compact SUV thus accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 270 km/h (167.8 mph). Combined NEDC fuel consumption is 8.6 liters per 100 km (27.4 US mpg), corresponding to 203 grams CO2 per km (326.7 g/mi).
The standard seven-speed S tronic has also been rigorously tuned for sportiness. The driver can either allow the extremely fast-shifting dual-clutch transmission to do all the work or change gears manually using the shift paddles on the standard RS multifunction steering wheel. In the dynamic mode of the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, each gear change is accompanied by double-declutching.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive smoothly delivers the engine’s power to the road via a hydraulically actuated, electronically controlled multi-plate clutch. Power is distributed automatically between the front and rear axles as needed, and even selectively to each wheel thanks to the networked Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC). Furthermore, the handling controller can be deactivated to access a retuned sport mode.
The taut RS sport suspension on the Audi RS Q3 performance perfectly translates the dynamics of the powerful engine and lowers the body by 20 millimeters (0.8 in) compared with the Audi Q3. Audi offers the RS sport suspension plus with damper control as an option. Its characteristic can be adjusted between the settings comfort, auto and dynamic via the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.
The exterior design with its typical RS design details underscores the distinctive appearance of the Audi high-performance models. These include the sportily designed bumpers with large air inlets up front and the heavily profiled diffuser insert at the rear and the gloss black honeycomb grilles.
The exterior of the RS Q3 performance is also characterized by add-on parts in a matt titanium-look finish that are exclusive to the new top model. The frame of the air inlet duct and the quattro logo within, for example, are finished this way. Other parts finished in matt titanium-look are: the Singleframe, the lateral flaps in the air inlets, the trim strips at the side windows, the exterior mirror housings, the roof rails, the upper edge of the diffuser and the fins of the roof edge spoiler. On top of that, Audi also offers the new paint finish Ascari blue metallic – another feature exclusive to the new RS performance models.
Another highlight are the RS-specific, 20 inch wheels in a five twin-spoke V design. They are available exclusively for the RS performance model in a matt titanium-look finish, matching the standard add-on parts in this same finish. The RS Q3 performance comes standard with red calipers bearing the RS logo. Audi also offers the calipers in black at no extra charge.
The dynamic line of the exterior design is echoed in the interior. The dial instruments feature gray faces, white dials and red needles. Audi offers the sport seats in the color combination black and blue with the optional RS performance design package at no extra charge. Additional elements, such as the RS sport leather steering wheel, the selector lever gaiter, the center armrest and the floor mats feature blue contrast stitching. Inlays in carbon twill blue, in which a blue thread is woven into the carbon material, round out this exclusive combination.
The Audi RS Q3 performance will celebrate its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2016 and can be ordered in Germany effective immediately. The base price is 61,000 euros, and deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2016.
Fuel consumption of the models named above:
Audi RS Q3 performance:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8.6 (27.4 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 203 (326.7 g/mi)
Audi RS 6 Avant performance:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.6 (24.5 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 223 (358.9 g/mi)
Audi RS 7 Sportback performance:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.5 (24.8 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 221 (355.7 g/mi)