20 Feb 2013

Audi RS Q3 - specs, images and price

The Q3 is Audi's mini-SUV.  It's also the first Q to feature an RS edition, and Europeans can buy one this year.

Audi has released details of the new RS Q3, which it will be presenting to the world at the Geneva Motor Show.  At it's heart is the 5 cylinder 2.5 litre turbo engine taken from the TT RS and RS3 Sportback.

Audi's quattro GmbH division have been busy of late, with the RS5 Cabriolet, RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback already putting in an appearance.  Now we get the baby of the Q family in RS form.  But, is it really necessary?  With BMW splashing M Sport over everything, and almost all Mercedes models having AMG somewhere in their name, S Line just wasn't cutting it for Audi.  RS Q3 it had to be.

The vital statistics are great when compared to most performance cars but not quite there when measured against the RS greats.  The 2.5 litre engine produces 310hp and 0-62mph takes 5.5 seconds, whilst top speed is limited to 155mph and combined fuel consumption is 32mpg.  The RS Q3 weighs in at 1730kg.

Since when did anyone worry about fuel consumption in an RS Audi?  Since we all developed an eco-conscience - or rather ,when our law-makers did  The great C5 RS6, with it's twin turbocharged 4.2 litre V8 produced a mighty 450bhp and returned 19mpg.  And it made an incredible noise whilst burning all that fuel.  Audi say the RS Q3 uses a 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence, which will make it sound like the 80s quattros.  But the 80s quattros weren't strangled by emissions regulations and need an exhaust flap to allow you to hear the noise it made.  The RS Q3 is and has.

The only gearbox option is a semi-automatic, seven speed S tronic unit with a Launch Control function.    Four wheel drive is provided by the RS Q3s quattro system which is controlled by a hydraulically operated and electronically controlled multi-plate clutch located at the rear axle

The Audi RS Q3 is priced at €54,600 in Germany, which equates to £47,000 in the UK and first deliveries will be made in Autumn 2013.  UK ordering starts this summer.

Given the fact the RS Q3 is lowered by an inch it won't have much more off road ability than the forthcoming S3 Sportback, which has just as much space, is faster, more handsome, is 300kg lighter, 25% more economical, sits on the same MQB platform and costs £10,000 less.  Has Audi shot itself in the foot with the new RS Q3 by competing against itself?