The compact luxury SUV class has two new big hitters, with the Audi RS Q3 and the all-new RS Q3 Sportback arriving in Australia in 2020.
20 December, 2019
They are the two newest arrivals in what’s called the ‘sport compact SUV ’ segment, but in describing these latest additions to the Audi Sport family, the description is a little misleading.
With luxury accommodation for up to five adults and their luggage, the ‘compact’ part of the descriptor isn’t really accurate, and with the sort of performance on tap in these two, ‘sport’ really doesn’t do them justice either.
‘High-performance’ and ‘luxurious’ are really the only way of introducing these two leaders of the Audi Q3 range.
The new Audi RS Q3 is the second generation of the compact sport SUV model and brings with it all new design, attitude, appointment and of course performance. Joining it is a completely new Audi RS model in the RS Q3 Sportback, the first time the stunning coupe-like styling has been applied in this segment.
From the 3D treatment of the Singleframe grille to the distinctive RS honeycomb structure set into the RS bumper and the huge air inlets – it’s an arresting combination of form and function. LED headlights with distinctive daytime light signature are standard equipment, while matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators and RS-specific darkened trims are available as an option.
The new Audi RS Q3 is the second generation of the compact sport SUV model and brings with it all new design, attitude, appointment and of course performance
The second generation RS Q3 has ‘muscled up’ considerably over the predecessor and is indeed physically larger than the first generation
The second generation RS Q3 has ‘muscled up’ considerably over the predecessor and is indeed physically larger than the first generation. Joining it for the first time is the new RS Q3 Sportback, which shares many of its styling highlights, but adds its own unique style. Lower than the RS Q3 by 45mm, the rising shoulder line adds to the impression of a low slung body and of a wide solid stance. The guards on both models have also been flared by 10mm on each wheel arch, partly to accommodate the huge 21-inch wheels and also to add to that impressive stance.
In addition, the two new RS models also sit 10mm lower than the standard Audi Q3 and Q3 Sportback thanks to the standard RS sport suspension – again adding to the stance as well as the handling and ride dynamics.
For the first time, these high-performance SUVs also feature the dual branch RS exhaust system with large oval tailpipes on both sides and chrome-coloured trims.
This exhaust system sits in an RS-specific bumper with rear diffuser and horizontal blades in gloss black, while the rear diffuser and blades are available in matt aluminium as an option.
Quite apart from the look of the sports exhaust though, it is the sound they emit when the five-cylinder powerplant is under load that will thrill the heart of every performance enthusiast.
The multi-award-winning five-cylinder 2.5 TFSI engine produces 294kW and 480Nm of torque available from 1950rpm right through the range to 5850rpm. This is mated to a seven-speed S tronic with power down to the road via quattro permanent all-wheel drive that distributes the power as needed between the axles via a multi-plate clutch. The result is pure exhilaration.
Point it down a track and give the car its head and the 0 to100km/h sprint is done and dusted in just 4.5 seconds on the way to a top (electronically governed) speed of 250km/h. This can be increased to 280km/h on request for those with an eye to track use.
Giving even greater control over the vehicle’s performance and responsiveness, the Audi drive select dynamic handling system influences the quattro drive and other components such as steering, suspension, S tronic, engine characteristic and sound. Depending on the selected equipment variant, there is a choice of five or six modes – comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency and individual or, as an alternative to the individual mode, the two new RS modes RS1 and RS2.
Point it down a track and give the car its head and the 0 to100km/h sprint is done and dusted in just 4.5 seconds
Via the MMI, the driver can adjust and save the two RS modes and control them by pressing the new ‘RS MODE’ buttons on the multi-function wheel
Via the MMI the driver can adjust and save the two RS modes individually and simply pressing the new ‘RS MODE’ steering wheel button provides rapid access to the two new modes and allows the driver to switch between them.
Inside, the cabins are of course superbly finished. Up front the MMI touch display with its high-gloss black glass-look works beautifully with the RS interiors, along with Audi virtual cockpit plus with shift light display, as well as tyre pressure, torque, power output, lap times, g-forces and acceleration measurements.
The wheel is of course a flat-bottom RS sport leather steering wheel, which allows the driver to control many functions including the RS specific modes of the Audi drive select dynamic handling system amongst other things.
Sport seats are in black leather/Alcantara with RS embossing and RS sport seats in fine Nappa leather with RS-specific honeycomb pattern and integrated head restraints are available for the first time in the Q3 family.
Australia’s love affair with the Audi Sport models is well known and these new RS models are destined to make a very big impression on the ‘sport compact class’ when they arrive in Australia in the second quarter of 2020.
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